Groundwater depletion

Jozef Páleník, hydrogeologist

© Jozef Paleník

The moment water is finally reached after drilling deep into the ground

© Jozef Páleník

“My name is Jozef Páleník. I have worked as a hydrogeological expert since 1965. My work involves cooperating with companies that drill wells for people. I must say that not so long ago, it was far easier for people to reach water. You just had to drill 10–15 m to have enough water for the entire year. These days, you have to go far deeper – sometimes more than 70 m – and you need more drilling machines for this, too. I expect this trend to continue. The above photo shows the moment in the drilling process when water is reached so that the landowner can have their own well.”

Scientific Background

Although Slovakia is renowned for its large reserves of groundwater, re- search on the potential of groundwa- ter and springs has confirmed that in the central, southern and southeast- ern parts of the country, the capac- ity of springs decreased by 15% be- tween 1981 and 2011 compared to the period up to 1980. This can be attrib- uted to the effects of climate change rather than to human activities. The consequences of climate change on the water cycle in Slovakia are on the one hand primarily floods and on the other hand gradually declining groundwater levels.

Other implications of climate change

  • As the climatic zones are shifting to the north and the climate in the south of Slovakia is be- coming more like that of northern Italy, the rising temperatures will also continue to have a major impact on the life cycles of plants, animals and people in the future
  • The number of days with tropical temperatures is increasing (there was a drought in 2015, for example, during which temperatures soared to over 35°C). This leads to health complications, above all among elderly people and people with respiratory and cardiovascular issues.
  • Droughts, heavy rains, floods and powerful storms cause harm to agriculture, infrastructureand people.