A drop of history


“The urban water pipe was opened in Krakow and commissioned on 14th of February due to the  Resolution of the Council on 13th of February 1901…”


Original text:
Water pipe Director’s Report 1901

The history of good water for Krakow is long  and its origins date back to the year 1901. That was when, the first water pipe  that provided water for the city was triggered. While population was around 85 thousand, the water system had just 81 km and fed 206 water supply appliances. Building the water pipe was the biggest and most expensive city investments at that time.

Before building the genuine water pipe in Krakow, the city had to deal with various problems.  One of them was to find the proper sources that could provide enough water  or financial means. 

In nineteenth-century, Krakow residents took water from well which was largely contaminated. The city was full of epidemics and life expectancy was just thirty years. It was already obvious that “ there is no doubt that supplying city for good and abundant water is the best solution to reduce morbidity and mortality, generally caused by the infectious diseases. Thus, this might extend the human life expectancy” [Krakow Water Pipe Case, 1887].

The necessity of building water pipe understood very well Joseph Dietl, an educated doctor, who became a Krakow President in 1866. He decided to make the city “clean, healthy and ornamental”. In 1870 by order of his the project was elaborated “ to provide the city and the suburbs with Vistula water for streets sprinkling, house needs at all floors up to attic as well as factories, hospitals, barracks and finally to decorate the city with  ten fountains” [The report from preparatory works for supplying Krakow with water, 1872]. The City Council rejected the project due to the high cost concern. Luckily the directors kept in mind Joseph Dietl sentence: “Gentlemen do not worry about high costs connected with mounting the water pipe, because the costs will disappear, but the profits will be eternal !”. Although the idea implied in this sentence had to wait for its realization,  in 1898  the City Council passed very important resolution: “It is intended to build the urban pump water pipe with capability 16 000 m3  the highest daily supply (…) fed with groundwater from aquifer areas in  Bielany”. In the end, water pipe designed by R. Ingarden was commissioned at the time of Joseph Friedlien govern, on 14th February 1901.

Nowadays, 118 years later, Krakow is a one million agglomeration that uses over  50 million  m3 of water. The water system has over 2200 km and year by year it grows, along with the city development. Everyday four Water Treatment Plants supply residents with top quality water.