Polish hydrologists are concerned about the relative lack of snowfall this winter in Lesser Poland, warning that it might lead to a drought.
Historically, southern Poland has experienced regular accumulation of snow in the winter months. This is important because it gradually melts with the spring thaw and sinks into the soil, replenishing fresh groundwater for plants (including crops) and humans. Scattered rain showers do not have the same effect, as most of the water immediately runs off into the river.
Lesser Poland is still faring better than the northern part of the country, which is already experiencing drought conditions and facing lower potato and grain yields as a result.
Poland has one of the most serious water scarcity problems in Europe, and a change in climate to hot, dry summers and winters with little snow is exacerbating the situation. The US-based World Resources Institute estimates that, by 2040, up to 40% of all irrigated crops in the world could be threatened by water shortages.