By: Claudia Ciobanu
Date: 11 July 2016
Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation
Residents ranging from fishermen and farmers to mayors and small business owners say water in the lake system of Wielkopolska region in western Poland is disappearing, drying out farmland and jeopardising the region's economic base in agriculture and tourism.
Drought and climate change, however, are feared to not be the only culprits, with mining of lignite, or brown coal, sapping underground waters and pitting residents against major energy company ZE PAK's proposal for another new mine.
Grzegorz Skowroski, the mayor of Wilczyn, a municipality about 200 km (125 miles) west of Warsaw, said Lake Wilczyskie's water level has fallen five metres (16.4 ft) since 2011 and is dropping up to four centimetres a week now.
"The state of the lake today is catastrophic," Skowroski told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.