As part of the project ‘Water footprint as a tool for education, integration and initiating actions for local water resources protection’, on 8th September 2020, a study visit was held in Bydgoszcz for representatives of cities involved in the project, i.e. Cieszyn, Ełk, Jasło, Kalisz and Milanówek.

The day started at the Water Tower, where we were welcomed by Mr. Marek Jankowiak, the spokesman for the Municipal Water and Sewer System in Bydgoszcz, who told us about the place. It was originally a reservoir that provided water supply to every residential, industrial and public building. Afterwards, he introduced us briefly into activities of the city connected with rational water management.

Then Jacek Cieściński, Dr. Eng. gave an interesting lecture on Bydgoszcz Retention +2050 programme related to the reconstruction of the stormwater drainage adapted to climate change in the city. There were also examples of activities making Bydgoszcz not only a ‘water city’ but also a city acting like a ‘sponge’. What does it mean? The city, despite the continuous and intensive development, is also becoming resistant to climate changes – rainwater will be gathered in a way so that it can be used rationally later.

The next point on the map of Bydgoszcz was the Five Ponds Valley Park – an example of natural retention reservoirs. The system of ponds, connected with each other in a cascade manner, takes advantage of the natural slope of terrain, and thanks to that, rainwater is redirected to the lowest reservoir. This is the model example of the open water management in the city. As part of the plan, the city wants to supplement the Five Ponds Valley with a retention reservoir for rainwater, which thanks to the circulation system will be directed to the reservoir located at the top, where the treatment process will be supported by the wetland vegetation.

The last thing of the agenda was the Myślęcinek public park, where we also met with Mrs Sandra Tyczyno, the spokeswoman for the Kujawsko-Pomorskie Centre of Ecological Education. Myślęcinek is the largest park in Poland located so close to the city centre of a big city – only 3 kilometres away! The water reservoirs cover an area of 18.5 hectares, with the largest of them of 10.3 hectares in area. It is one of the most popular places in Bydgoszcz, allowing residents to spend time actively, surrounded by nature and using the rich infrastructure present there.

We would like to thank the staff of the Bydgoszcz City Hall, the Municipal Water and Sewer System and the Kujawsko-Pomorskie Centre of Ecological Education for their help in organizing the entire study tour.

We encourage you to get to know the materials on the project website, which we hope will inspire you to act for the rational water management in your municipality and to improve the quality of life of its residents.