The on-line transmission from the flight

2017-10-17 16:11:53

Medieval Warsaw, which was located on a rise, was supplied with water mainly from the many nearby steams, naturally flowing towards the Vistula, and by numerous sources and wells. The little streams on the rise, supplied in large measure by rainfall, were not hydrologically stable. In time, a system was built with water retention reservoirs called nalewki.

The next stage in the history of Warsaw’s water supply, at the beginning of the 16th century, was the bringing of water from the nalewki directly into the Old and New towns by means of a system of wooden pipes, into which the water was manually pumped. In the middle of the 18th century, at the initiative of the then mayor of Warsaw, Dulfus, pumps were placed on the receiving pit. This was the first municipal water mains.

However, the growing city needed much more water and, in addition, the sources and streams started to dry up.

The first historical water intake on the Vistula, by Karowa Street, is associated with the water mains of Enrico Marconi. Not long after, a water intake in the Czerniaków area was built, and was associated with the Lindley water mains system. It provides water to left-bank Warsaw. Right-bank Warsaw is supplied from the Praga water intake located on the opposite side of the river.

For both those intakes, water was extracted directly from the river current. Nowadays, we extract it from under the river-bed, after filtering it through sand and gravel for initial purification. This improves the quality of water.

Until not too long ago, filtering intakes were built exclusively on land. However, they grew old and broke down rapidly on account of iron and manganese deposits, and were costly to replace. The remedy was provided by a solution known the world over as the ‘Warsaw intake’ (invented by the Polish engineer Włodzimierz Skoraszewski), which consists in building intakes in the current under the river-bed and using the river’s natural movement of gravel and sand rubble for the self-cleansing of the drains. This only works in rivers such as the Vistula, with a naturally shaped channel and with a type of water flow in which there is continuous and natural renewal of the river-bed.

Gruba Kaśka (Fat Kate - 40 meters wide, 50 meters high), which stands in the very middle of the river, is a symbol of the river pumping station of the Praga side intake, Europe’s largest water intake under a river-bed.

Two more intakes are located upstream on the right bank, and four more, hidden underground, on the left bank of the river. The name "Fat Kate" comes from an equally 'fat' 18th-century well on Tłomackie Street, which is preserved until today as a historic monument. Fat Kate is accompanied by ‘Skinny Adalberts’, two hydraulic cultivators ensuring that the bottom of Vistula acts as a natural filter in an efficient manner. The sandbanks are the permanent resting place for thousands of gulls, terns, and other species of birds.

The names given to the intakes and boats show the kind spirits of Warsaw water workers and their love of life, of people, and of the city and its traditions.

The Balloon Team sends special greetings to full-time working... bivalves of Fat Kate. The quality of the water pumped to the waterworks has to meet high standards, identical with the living conditions required by this species of bivalves. The molluscs are located in the stream of flowing water. If water quality suddenly decreases, they quickly close their shells, which alarms the electronic system that sends the information about it to the quality test centre. Biomonitoring is an additional and really effective tool for making sure that the water we use is safe and pure.


16:11 - Fat Kate