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Use of water

Last update of indicator 18.11.2021

Indicator definition

The indicator provides information on the extent of water use, abstraction of surface water and groundwater abstractions.




Related policy documents and targets

Strategy of the environmental policy of the Slovak Republic - Greener Slovakia (2019)
Sustainable Use and Effective Protection of Natural Resources
Goals: A good condition and water potential of all water bodies through the restoration of river ecosystems will be accomplished.

1. Enough clean water for everyone

1.1 The prevention of water pollution

  •  Illegally discharged waste water from households, commerce and services, but also from the industry or leakage from environmental burdens and agricultural activity, significantlypollute surface and ground water. Strengthening and streamlining of controls, documentation of legal waste water disposal and a threat of real effective sanctions will help limit these actions.

1.3. Elimination of adverse impacts on water courses

  •  In terms of the impact on water status, there are three main groups of significant hydromorphological changes: a disruption of longitudinal connection of the rivers and the habitats, a disruption of transverse connection of wetlands and inundation with sewer and other morphological changes and hydrological changes. It is therefore essential to focus on the revitalization and re-naturalization of water courses and the adjacent riverine landscapes and to ensure the coherence of water courses, which is one of the basic conditions for the functioning of river ecosystems.
  •  The prioritization of renewal of land improvement channels will be set, depending on their function and use. Land improvement channels can also drain water from areas, where it is necessary. For this reason, it will be important to assess where the operation and maintenance of channels is needed and where it is environmentally harmful.

Orientation, Principles and Priorities of the Slovak Republic Water Management  Policy by 2027 (2016)

Priorities of water management
In order to ensure the efficient use of water resources:

  • Ensure fair and sustainable use of water resources;
  • Ensure that water resource management was in line with environmental ethic based on balancing the resources and needs of water, or water accounting in a river basin, which at the same time has a direct link also to addressing the water scarcity problem.
  • Based on the indicators of water scarcity, to determine the manner of efficient use of water for water-exploiting industries, especially for industry and energy, agriculture and households;
  • Identify alternative sources of groundwater. These resources should be of good quality properties, long residence time and low vulnerability. Where there are not enough good-quality groundwater resources, it is necessary to look for alternative solutions within the surface waters, for example through water supply of available water systems;
Water plan of the Slovak Republic (2016)

Environmental target for surface water bodies is to perform measures aimed at:

  • Preventing deterioration of the condition of surface water bodies;
  • Protection, improvement and renewal of surface water bodies so that the good condition of surface water is achieved until 22 December 2015 and 2021, respectively;
  • Protection and improvement of artificial and considerably changed surface water bodies so that the good ecological potential and good chemical condition are achieved until 22 December 2015 and 2021, respectively;
  • Gradual decreasing in pollution by priority substances and stopping or gradual termination of emissions, discharge and leakages of priority dangerous substances.

Environmental target for underground water bodies is to perform measures aimed at:

  • Preventing or limiting entry of pollutants into underground water and at preventing deterioration of the condition of underground water bodies;
  • Protection, improvement and renewal of underground water bodies and at ensuring the balance between underground water takings and completing their quantity in order to achieve the good condition of underground water until 22 December 2015 and 2021, respectively;
  • Reversing the important increasing trend of the pollutant concentration that is caused by human activities in order to decrease the underground water pollution gradually.


SR Government´s Statement of policy the for the period 2021 - 2024 (2021)

Environment and climate change
The Government of the Slovak Republic will focus on more comprehensive care for all components of the environment - forests, soil, water, air and biodiversity in order to mitigate the impacts of climate change.
In connection with water as a strategic resource of the state the Government of the Slovak Republic shall:
  •  propose a water policy to ensure the gradual restoration of damaged water bodies, to stop water pollution, to stop the decline in the quantity of groundwater, and to ensure the sufficiency of drinking water in the regions, 


The Slovak Republic Strategy for Adaptation to Adverse Effects of Climate Change- Update (2018)

1. Strategy Goals

The main goal of the updated the Slovak Republic Strategy for Adaptation to Adverse Effects of Climate Change is to prepare Slovakia for tackling the adverse effects of climate change, deliver comprehensive information about the current state of adaptation processes in Slovakia, and based on their analysis establish an institutional framework for a coordinating mechanism which will ensure effective implementation of adaptation measures across all levels and in all areas, as well as improve general awareness of the domain.
5. Impact of climate change on select areas and recommended adaptation measures
5.4. Water regime and water management
Adaptation measures in local conditions should aim at compensating for the instances of drought, that is, the decrease of flows of water and water yields, as well as minimising the negative consequences of floods, especially flash floods in montane and submontane regions. Climate change adaptation within the domain of water management should be oriented towards implementing measures which will create the conditions for better water outflow management in catchment areas. In the domain of water management elements of green and blue infrastructure, green structural approaches and non-structural adaptation concepts should be prioritised over elements of grey infrastructure whenever it is technically possible and efficient to do so. Adaptation measures should focus on preserving or improving the current state of water, with the aim of achieving its good state, efficient and sustainable utilisation of water resources, protection against floods and contribution towards protection of nature and land and support with ecosystem services provision. It is important to create space for a wider application of so-called "green" measures in catchment areas where the main goal is to increase the land's adaptability through regeneration and improvement of efficiency of ecosystem functions of the land. "Green" measures are recognised as the better environmental choice, that is, as supplementary-mitigating measures with the aim of minimising the consequences of grey infrastructure, assuming that they are equally effective or more effective in regards to set goals.
Water is becoming a critical strategic stock of the state and it is necessary to protect it and manage its rational and efficient use in line with the goal of ensuring sustainable development. Justifiably, the highest priority is given to water sources, their protection and the need of their more efficient use.

Proposed adaptation measures
-slowing down of water outflow from catchment areas
-decreasing of the maximum flow of floods
-risk assessment
-water management

The Protocol on Water and Health - to the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes, 1992 - National objectives of SR III (2014)

The reason for the Protocol´s objectives update in 2014 is their fulfilment, or the need of extending the deadlines for the fulfilment of objectives which are still actual, as well as determining new national objectives conditioned by the situation change and the occurrence of new problems to which the attention must be paid, and which seem to be important in terms of Protocol´s objectives implementation in SR. SR has defined the national objectives already for the third time since the Protocol entered into force.

National objectives of SR III

National objective no.11: Increasing public awareness of water and aquatic ecosystems protection and educational activities
Date of fulfilment: y. 2020

National objective no. 12: Strengthening the protection of water resources
Date of fulfilment: y. 2015 – 2020

Key question

What is the level of water use and the status and development in the surface and ground water abstractions?

Key messages

  • During the monitored period of 2005 – 2020, the percentage of total takings from outflow from the territory of the Slovak Republic (the water utilization rate) had a fluctuating character, while the highest value was recorded in 2003 that was characterized as extremely dry and when important takings for irrigation were recorded.
  • Surface water takings after 2005 recorded a considerable decrease, in spite of the minimal year-on-year increases and decreases. In 2020, takings decreased by 54.8% compared to 2005. In a year-on-year comparison of 2019 – 2020, takings decreased by 0.7%.
  • Groundwater takings also recorded their decrease after 2005, but since 2016 they have had a balanced character with minimal increases and decreases. In 2020, takinds decreased by 10.9% compared to 2005. The year-on-year decrease was 1.55%.
Change since 2005 Change since 2015 Last year-on-year change
emo_smile emo_neutral emo_smile
Water utilization rate was of fluctuating nature. The abstractions of surface and ground waters fell.
The percentage of total runoff off-take from the territory of Slovak Republic has remained about the same since 2015 with minimal increases and decreases.
The surface water abstractions were of fluctuating nature. The minimal declines were recorded in the groundwater abstractions.
The rate of water use declined. The abstractions of surface and ground waters was at the same level.


Summary assessment

Detailed assessment

Water resources, particularly their renewable components (i.e. available for abstractions) are essential for human development and its economic activities. Water abstraction for public water supplies, industry and cooling in power plants represents a significant pressure on the water resources themselves, as well as on their quality and quantity issues. Though overall, in most European countries the volume of available water greatly exceeds the requirements on water resources imposed by the human society, the division of water resources and the intensity of their use is not, in terms of spatial and temporal characteristics, uniform.

Usable water per capita per year includes two factors: population growth and water resources provided by nature. In Central Europe, and especially in Slovakia, the usable water per capita per year reflects the development of natural conditions, since the population growth stagnates. Percentage of available water abstractions after 2000 is less than 10%, except in 2003, which was characterized as the extremely dry year, and significant abstractions for irrigation were reported.

The usable water  is also related to the real requirements for water - water abstractions which fell significantly due to price increases, and drop of abstractions below 10% shows the excessive water saving.

Usability of water per capita in the SR
  2003 2005 2010 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Outflow from the territory of the SR per capita (m3.103/year/capita) 1.29 2.21 4.22 2.12 1.78 2.03 2.04 1.62 1.72 2.15
Total abstractions
(m3/ year/capita)
196.4 170.8 111.0 103.2 105.9 102.2 106.3 105.2 106.5 105.4
% of abstractions from outflow from the territory of the SR 15.2 7.7 2.6 4.8 5.95 5.03 5.2 6.5 6.2 4.9
 Source: SHMI


Surface waters

Surface waters abstractions are closely related to the possibilities of sustainable use of water resources. It is important that the permitted quantities of surface water abstractions respect not only economic requirements, but also the requirements on the ecological limits of the water body, so that the over-exploitation of these resources would not damage the adjacent aquatic ecosystems. In 2020, abstractions amounted to 240.860 million m3, that was a decrease by 291.931 million m3 compared to 2005.


In 2020, surface waters abstractions fell to 240.86 million m3, which is a decrease by 0.7% in comparison to the previous year. The abstractions for the industry in 2020 amounted to 176.93 million m3, which was a decrease by 1.9%, compared to 2019. A slight incrrease was observed in the abstractions of surface water for water supply network, which -compared with the previous year- rising by 1.33 million m3, which represents 2.8%. Surface water abstractions for irrigation rose and amounted to 14.96 million m3.

Utilization of Surface Water according to User Groups (mill.m3)
Year Water supply
Industry Irrigations Other agric. In total Discharge
1995 72,975 702,925 53,854 0,0970 829,851 1159,410
2000 70,571 575,872 90,540 0,0440 737,027 989,825
2001 64,197 596,138 55,579 0,0045 715,919 976,382
2002 63,580 577,958 42,480 0,0043 684,022 984,070
2003 66,449 489,467 65,042 0,0094 620,968 910,426
2004 55,984 604,728 18,935 0,0076 679,723 919,222
2005* 53,828 467,957 11,006 0,0110 532,791 871,865
2006* 55,567 323,709 15,840 0,0120 395,142 748,537
2007* 53,315 266,776 6,036 0,0120 326,139 628,370
2008* 52,057 251,797 9,133 0,0040 312,991 608,997
2009* 51,045 216,397 12,319 0,0020 279,762 605,271
2010* 48,098 205,497 5,864 0,0010 259,460 742,818
2011* 48,545 176,610 10,137 0,9210 236,201 610,093
2012* 49,090 259,200 18,138 0,0013 326,430 646,600
2013* 47,307 246,860 13,952 0,0010 308,120 708,630
2014* 44,600 182,840 10,570 0,0700 238,080 602,040
2015* 47,020 183,290 17,270 0,0010 247,580 594,100
2016* 46,140 176,470 8,990 0,0900 231,700 620,160
2018 46,940 174,470 12,950 0,0200 234,380 599,600
2019 47,550 180,420 14,300 0,1200 242,470 608,610
2020 48,880 176,730 14,960 0,0900 240,860 636,260
* Data are from the Database of summary records on water
Source: SHMI


In 2020, on the basis of hydrological assessments and surveys, 78 945 l.s-1 exploitable groundwater resources were available in Slovakia. Compared to the previous year 2019, a slight increase of exploitable groundwater resources by 879.1 l.s-1, i.e. by 1.12%, was shown. In long-term ratings, the increase in usable amounts compared to 1990 represents 4,172 l.s-1, i.e. 5.58%.

In 2020, customers (subject to reporting requirements under the Act) used an average of 10 578.58 l.s-1 of groundwater in total in Slovakia which was 13.4% of documented available volumes. During 2020, groundwater abstraction recorded decrease of 164.27 l.s-1, which represents drop by 1.55% compared to 2019.

In the year-on-year comparison (2019-2020), there was a decrease in groundwater abstraction according to its use in all categories except plant production and irrigation, which saw an increase in abstraction of 7.45 l.s-1. Groundwater abstraction in the other uses category decreased the most by 53.99 l.s-1, followed by 46.8 l.s-1 in the public water supply category and 42.8 l.s-1 in the other industry category. 
 Use of ground water according to utilization purposes (l.s-1)
  Water services
Food industry Other industry Agric. and
anim. production
Plant production,
Social purposes Others In total
1996 13 219,80 362,70 1 924,00 630,90 26,50 360,70 235,90 16 760,50
2000 11 188,38 321,23 1 177,18 446,78 18,20 432,99 632,66 14 217,42
2001 10 480,56 330,04 1 121,80 427,14 15,34 402,70 620,33 13 397,91
2002 10 201,77 311,24 1 101,19 392,86 34,78 323,09 648,24 13 013,17
2003 10 064,94 329,51 999,29 385,49 380,87 320,74 822,52 13 303,36
2004 9 431,53 322,04 901,65 320,51 65,17 327,02 832,93 12 200,85
2005 9 159,87 288,25 856,75 308,82 95,07 279,72 878,98 11 867,46
2006 8 836,13 295,62 852,34 275,80 94,96 340,15 970,20 11 665,20
2007 8 441,59 383,87 891,32 267,84 146,25 333,44 901,65 11 365,96
2008 8 468,82 284,98 823,02 253,29 67,52 271,23 953,23 11 122,09
2009 8 475,40 268,13 762,18 232,07 93,80 249,44 963,58 11 044,60
2010 8 295,00 265,00 781,00 217,20 48,70 245,40 967,20 10 819,50
2011 8 071,10 206,20 802,20 210,20 81,10 237,80 993,20 10 601,80
2012 8 149,70 256,60 797,80 221,20 108,40 218,40 967,25 10 719,40
2013 7 886,40 261,60 769,80 220,90 100,80 205,50 993,80 10 438,80
2014 7 674,20 238,60 752,70 227,00 120,60 190,40 983,80 10 187,30
2015 7 701,70 258,50 787,10 200,10 134,40 200,50 1 048,10 10 330,40
2016 7 626,70 243,70 788,50 211,80 103,70 242,80 1 006,40 10 223,60
2018 7 843,90 250,10 831,20 227,80 107,70 192,50 1 292,60 10 745,80
2019 7 786,81 265,68 798,59 227,54 198,03 206.34 1 259,80 10 742,85
2020 7 740,01 245,69 755,79 222,35 205,48 203,39 1 205,9 10 578,58
Source: SHMI


Ing. Ľubica Koreňová, SAŽP,

Related definitions:

Abstraction of water is the amount of collected surface water and groundwater by user groups.

The total available quantity of groundwater of Slovakia is a summary of resources and inventory approved by the Hydrogeological commission, and of non-approved quantities, defined on the basis of documented quantities from hydro-geological surveys and researches.

Water use rate represents the proportion of total abstractions (surface and groundwater) to the annual amount drained from the SR territory.


Data on surface water abstractions, groundwater abstractions and wastewater discharges into surface waters or groundwater are sent by the entity abstracting surface water or groundwater from a single source in a quantity greater than 15,000 m3 per year, or over 1,250 m3 per month, or using special water for business; it is required to report data on these abstractions, and data specified in the permit to January 31 of the following calendar year in the SHMI forms.

The data are then processed and evaluated on the basis of a valid "Methodology for processing the water management balance of surface water amount for the past year", and a methodology "SWMB - ground water. Methodology of processing state water management balance of the past year".

Data sources:


Related international indicators:

Linked references: