The study first presents the present Hungarian water management, mostly as it is given in the respective documents, in order to support the analysis of strategic questions and to introduce other studies of the volume. Natural and hydrographic conditions are discussed along with the issues of drought and irrigation, flood and excess water (Figure 2.), river training, water resources (Figure 3.) and demands, water quality, water supply and sewerage (Figure 4.) and the institutional aspects. Next, some of the important issues of the present and future water management are pointed out. The deterministic role of the regulation of the River Tisza is presented (Figures 5. and 6.). The issues related to the Bös (Gabcikovó)-Nagymaros Hydropower Scheme are discussed, stating that it will define the judgement of the water related professions in a multiple way and seemingly for many decades. The case of the Általér catchment (Figure 8.) is discussed as the "horse of the veterinary college" example of non-sustainable development. Lessons of two water related surveys are presented, along with the more interesting details of interviews made with professionals of the water sector and of the water users. The main strategic aspects of future water management are also presented. In the light of this discussion Hungary is the country of extremes: It is a country found in the very bottom of one of the most closed catchments. The Hungarian great plains Alföld is an area without natural drainage, and the regularly inundated area is large. The water regime in characterised by extremes. The per-capita water resources is one of the largest in Europe, but it originates mostly from abroad. Runoff contribution to these resources from the country's own territory is far the lowest in the continent. Water management in a difficult task in many areas, due mostly to the low density of the water system. Drinking water supply is based mostly on subsurface waters. The gap between water supply and waste water collection-treatment (termed the "public water utility scissors") is one of the largest ones in the continent. The shallow water bearing layer is contaminated in the vicinity of the settlements. Confined aquifers and bank-filtered water resources are vulnerable to pollution and the groundwater household is unclear. The quality of water is poor in those surface waters, which have low dilution capacity. Shallow lakes face the problem of eutrophication to varying extent. The water management of Hungary depends basically on international factors. Hydrological conditions are likely to respond unfavourably to land-use changes and to potential climate changes. Disruption of the original country border resulted in the splitting of natural river catchments by political borders and the territory of the country consists mostly of catchments shared by several countries. The exposure and the risk are high and the relevant international agreements are weak. The joining of the European Union is a "pier", which defines the future. In the next decade the country will be facing difficult rehabilitation and reconstruction tasks, which stem from the non-sustainable developments of the decades preceding the political switch-over of the country and also from the neglecting of the existing infrastructure and the non-completed development works (including that of the regulation of the Danube and Tisza rivers). Uncertain trends and changing concepts will define the future. This latter will have to avoid short term concepts and shall focus on preventive action and sustainable solutions on the long run. The costs of water management are high: the key issue is to properly schedule actions and to find the appropriate form of financing, especially in the transitional phase of the economy.
|Translated title of the contribution||The Hungarian water management and its strategic driving forces|
|Number of pages||41|
|Publication status||Published - Dec 1 2000|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Water Science and Technology