The Gowienica river catchment (ca. 60 km2) constitutes one of the inflows to Lake Miedwie, which is a water source for the city of Szczecin (N-W Poland). The Miedwie water supply has a license to produce 100 000 m3/day to supply water to 330 000 people; the site protection zone for the Miedwie water intake has been delineated in 2005 and ca. 15% of the Gowienica catchment lies within this area.
The area is dominated by intensive arable farming (over 95% is agricultural use). There are 8 villages scattered within the Gowienica catchment with some 2600 inhabitants and six groundwater intakes (serving 12 villages in total); there are three wastewater treatment facilities with variable technologies and capabilities discharging
The catchment lies within a Nitrates Vulnerable Zone. Monitoring within the area has been ongoing since 1980 including data on water quality (both surface and groundwater) and nitrate load. Despite large number of orders and bans introduced in land use management within the area, problem of high nitrate concentrations in surface and groundwater feeding the lake still exists and despite the relatively low flows, the Gowienica river brings high loads of nutrients into the lake Miedwie (estimated at 15,5T/year of NO3). Inappropriate communal sewage systems might be an important source leading to nitrate problems in the area (although currently mainly attributed to agriculture). The relative contribution of different sources is still unknown. Thanks to WaterProtect, different water governance strategies will be investigated that will lead to a greater involvement of farmers, citizens, water companies and other stakeholders in the planning process and will stimulate the uptake of BMP measures by the local actors/farmers.