The swimming area loved by tourists is drying up. Residents blame the road construction

The swimming area loved by tourists is drying up.  Residents blame the road construction

The problem with the decreasing water level in the lake worsened after the construction of the S3 expressway. Local activists decided to fight in court.

The water level in the largest drainless lake in the Lubusz Voivodeship has decreased by almost two meters over the last quarter of a century. A year ago, the well-known and popular resort lost its status as a guarded swimming area. The bridge from which residents and tourists once jumped headlong is now buried in the sand. According to local activists, the problem was made worse by culverts placed too high under the S3 expressway.

Lake Wiedze is drying up

The problem of the drying Deep Lake returns every year. Last season was particularly painful for the residents, during which for the first time in 30 years the reservoir lost the status of a guarded swimming area. The phenomenon of drying out is particularly common in the case of lakes without outlets. According to numerous analyzes by Gazeta Lubuska, there may be several reasons for the disastrous condition of the reservoir. Firstly, the expansion of the tourist base, which increased the demand for water drawn from deep wells. Secondly, the stepping of the climate due to its warming and snowless winters, which did not help in making up for water losses during the hot months. However, the most controversial issue is the suspicion that the tragically low water level is due to errors made during the construction of the S3 expressway on the Gorzów Wielkopolski Południe – Międzyrzecz Północ section, which was completed in May 2014.

The case went to court

The culverts under the road, i.e. the holes through which water from the cut-off area should flow freely, were supposed to be set too high by half a meter, which disrupted the natural flow of water from the area to the lake. The representative of the residents, legal advisor Robert Krzych, is fighting in court for the opportunity to obtain access to detailed documentation of the General Directorate for National Roads and Motorways, which refused to provide information. In accordance with the judgment of the Provincial Administrative Court in Warsaw of April 17, 2024, GDDKiA should issue documents to the interested party – the case will therefore proceed further.

The mayor of Międzyrzecz is also supportive of the investigation into the impact of the construction of S3 on the drying up of the lake. “I kindly inform you that we will take all legal actions, including against GDDKiA, in order to prevent the loss of water in this reservoir,” Remigiusz Lorenz said in a letter to Robert Krzych. The authorities also promise to implement ad hoc measures, such as unblocking drainage ditches in order to drain excess surface water to Piękny. The City Hall also developed a program for the revitalization of the recreation center at the lake, which is to be enriched with new floating piers as well as the necessary swimming pool infrastructure in the form of toilets and changing rooms. A sewerage network will also be built to carry away sewage from holiday cottages located on the shore.

A disaster for tourism

“Because of mistakes that no one wants to admit, we are losing the pearl of our area,” says Krzych in a report by Radio Zachód. For years, Lake Wiedze was considered one of the cleanest in the region. Today, it is not safe to enter the water on any of the three unguarded beaches. Tourists from Gorzów Wielkopolski, located several dozen kilometers away, for whom Wiedze was the same as Lake Zegrze for Warsaw residents, now choose other places. Local media speak directly about a natural disaster, which is also a disaster for tourism. In recent years, attempts have been made to combat the disappearing water by adding it from the Gunica River, but such solutions do not bring long-term results.

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