Geographia Polonica (2012) vol. 85, iss. 4

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18th-20th Century Flood-Induced Changes In The Landscapes Of The Mała Wisła Valley Within The Oświęcimska Basin

Stanisław W. Czaja

Geographia Polonica (2012) vol. 85, iss. 4, pp. 23-31
doi: https://doi.org/10.7163/GPol.2012.4.22

Abstract

Shaping of the Mała Wisła (‘Little Vistula’) Valley allowed economic use to be made of it by the early Middle Ages. At first,this took the form of the constructing of many mill streams, but then the system of fish ponds characteristic of the Valleylandscape to this day was also put in place (in the 16th-17th centuries). However, the numerous floods affecting the Valleydown the centuries regularly devastated the ponds, as well as filling in or changing the courses of the mill streams.Archive records, sketches and topographic maps all show that the receding of floodwaters was followed by the rebuildingof ponds albeit mostly with shapes, sizes and layouts of embankments different from those that had been present before.This therefore brought about significant changes in the landscape of the Valley. By the end of the 19th century, floods hadproduced very marked changes in the landscape of the Valley under study. In contrast, floods do not now bring aboutpermanent changes in the Valley because the construction of the Goczałkowice Reservoir led to a lowering in the level ofepisodes of peak high water.

Keywords: Poland, Mała Wisła Valley, changes in landscapes, human impact, floods

Stanisław W. Czaja, 18th-20th Century Flood-Induced Changes In The Landscapes Of The Mała Wisła Valley Within The Oświęcimska Basin