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University of Silesia in Katowice

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Silesian Water Centre (SWC)

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The passion and goal of the Silesian Water Centre team is a multi-faceted approach to water issues in the environment. Thanks to a non-standard approach and innovative research methods, the SWC has been conducting surface, underwater, and underground research since 2017, both in the natural environment of the reservoirs and in the virtual environment of digitally created models.

Its main area of activity is the Upper Silesian Anthropogenic Lakeland with 16,000 water reservoirs, but the Centre also operates outside of Silesia, meeting the challenges related to human activity on a local and global scale.

The SWC brings together specialists from many scientific fields related to water management, especially hydro-: geologists, biologists, geographers, ecologists, meteorologists, chemists, and computer scientists. At the junction of fields, also in international cooperation, studies, expert opinions, and innovative solutions are created to meet the needs of science, economy, and environmental protection. The SWC team invites everyone who is interested in water professionally or as a hobby.

The history and tasks of the SWC

The Silesian Water Centre of the University of Silesia in Katowice was established in 2017 as an inter-faculty team conducting research, development, implementation, popularisation and teaching activities related to the environment and water management. The founders of the SWC were scientists associated then with the Faculty of Biology and Environmental Protection and the Faculty of Earth Sciences (now the Faculty of Natural Sciences of the University of Silesia).

The establishment of the unit was the result of the implementation and commercialisation of the ZiZOZap project implemented under the European Regional Development Fund (OP Innovative Economy). The University of Silesia was the coordinator and main contractor.

In October 2019, as part of the reorganisation of the university structure, SWC was transformed into a research centre.

The research and educational topics of the SWC cover numerous fields of science, especially related to the physical, chemical, biological, and ecological aspects of water as well as potamology, limnology, hydrogeology, hydrometeorology, hydrochemistry, hydrobiology, chemometrics, and other areas related to water and the environment.

One of the most important tasks of the centre is the coordination of interdisciplinary research conducted at the University of Silesia and by partners in areas related to the aquatic environment.

The goals set by the SWC team are to raise funds for research and the implementation of scientific projects. The centre is also to combine science and economy through commercialisation of research results and cooperation with experts in the development of solutions supporting water management.

The members of the centre are also involved in education. They initiate new curricula, taking into account the latest research and technological achievements, current and future environmental challenges as well as EU and national legal regulations. An important task of the centre is to provide educational activity related to the research topics of the University of Silesia in Katowice and external entities (including schools). Along with the establishment of the SWC, the “Elementum” Interdepartmental Research Group was established, operating at the centre, which supports the teams in the course of research. As part of this activity, students gain new and often unique competencies in conducting research, the results of which are used to prepare various scientific studies.

It is also worth mentioning that the team creating the SWC has extensive experience in water testing, gained during the implementation of the ZiZOZap project on the Goczałkowice Reservoir, verified and enriched as part of the research activities undertaken during the project durability period. These were commissioned works, among others by the offices of cities such as Jaworzno (on the Sosina reservoir) and Tychy (on the Paprocany reservoir), and expert opinions prepared for the Regional Water Management Authority in Gliwice, regarding the assessment of the water condition of the Kłodnica basin.

The main area of the Centre’s activity is Silesian Voivodeship, in which there are almost 16,000 water reservoirs with a total area of almost 200 km2. These reservoirs form one of the areas with the most lakes, named by the late Prof. Andrzej Jankowski, the Upper Silesian Anthropogenic Lakeland. Many of these reservoirs are reservoirs of great value in terms of urban planning, shallow, with unregulated water management, exposed to degradation and requiring rational management. The centre wants to develop its activities also outside of Silesia, using the experience gained to implement projects in Poland and abroad.

SWC invites research and teaching staff as well as research and design & implementation teams both related to the University of Silesia and from outside the university to cooperate.

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