Mineral resources of Poland> Rock raw materials and others> Brines, curative and thermal water
English SelectedChange language to Polish

Brines, curative and thermal water

Due to the specific physical and chemical properties of certain groundwaters, the article number 5 of the Act of 9th June 2011 Geological and Mining Law (Journal of Laws 2023, Item 633, unified text) classifies brines, curative or thermal waters, as opposed to fresh groundwaters, as minerals.

Before the Act of 9th June 2011 Geological and Mining Law was implemented, the number of brines, curative and thermal waters was specified in the Ordinance of 14 February 2006 of the Council of Ministers about groundwater deposits classified as brines, curative and thermal waters and others curative minerals and also about classifying some deposits of common minerals to basic minerals (Journal of Laws 2006, No. 32, Item 220, with subsequent amendments). Now after outlawing this ordinance only those brines, curative and thermal waters are minerals which meet the requirements of Geological and Mining Law, wherein according to the Act (article 203 paragraph 1) brines, curative and thermal waters considered as minerals in the light of the previous regulations keep their status.


Brine: groundwater with total solid dissolved minerals at least 35 g/dm3. The Ordinance of the Council of Ministers classified only the deposit in Łapczyca in Małopolskie district as brine. This brine, occurring in Miocene sandstone formation, is used for therapeutic purposes and bath salt production. Groundwaters with similar composition (strongly mineralized waters of Cl-Na or Cl-Na-Ca type, with higher amount of iodine ion) are common in the area of Polish Lowlands. They occur in very deep formations, at depth of some thousand meters.

Curative waters

Curative water: groundwater with no chemical and microbiological contamination, with natural diversity of physical and chemical properties, meeting at least one of the following requirements:

  • total solid dissolved mineral content at least 1,000 mg/dm3,
  • ferrous ion content – at least 10 mg/dm3 (ferruginous waters),
  • fluoride ion content – at least 2 mg/dm3 (fluoride waters),
  • iodine ion content – at least 1 mg/dm3 (iodide waters),
  • bivalent sulphur ion content – at least 1 mg/dm3 (sulphide waters),
  • meta-silicic acid content – at least 70 mg/dm3 (silicic waters),
  • radon content – at least 74 Bq (radon waters),
  • carbon dioxide content – at least 250 mg/dm3 (250-1,000 mg/dm3 carbonic acid waters, ≥1,000 mg/dm3 carbonated water).

Most of curative waters occur in towns of southern Poland, in Sudetes and Carpathian region (together with Carpathian Depression). Over 70% of hearth resorts and towns with curative waters are located in this area. The rest of deposits occur in Western Pomerania and in Polish Lowlands. Curative waters are used mainly for balneotherpy in over 40 health resorts and other towns (i.e. Dobrowoda, Latoszyn-Zdrój, Las Winiarski, Marusza, Krzeszowice, Szczawa, Wełnin) and bottling purposes in about 20 water bottling plants i.e. Krynica-Zdrój, Muszyna, Piwniczna-Zdrój, Milik, Powroźnik, Zubrzyk, Szczawa, Tylicz, Wysowa-Zdrój, Polanica-Zdrój, Ciechocinek, Rymanów-Zdrój, Szczawnica, Szczawno-Zdrój, Gorzanów, Jeleniów (Kudowa deposit), but also for salt (i.e. Ciechocinek, Dębowiec, Goczałkowice-Zdrój, Lubatówka – Iwonicz-Zdrój deposit, Kamień Pomorski, Kołobrzeg, Rabka-Zdrój, Ustroń, Zabłocie) and pharmaceutic preparations or cosmetics (i.e. Busko-Zdrój, Ciechocinek, Goczałkowice-Zdrój, Inowrocław, Iwonicz-Zdrój, Kołobrzeg, Krynica-Zdrój, Las Winiarski, Lądek-Zdrój, Połczyn-Zdrój, Rabka-Zdrój, Rymanów-Zdrój, Solec-Zdrój, Świnoujście, Ustroń, Wełnin, Wieliczka). In Krynica-Zdroj and Duszniki-Zdroj natural carbon dioxide is obtained from curative waters.

Potentially curative waters, i.e. mineralised (with total solid dissolved minerals over 1,000 mg/dm3) and specific groundwaters, not considered as curative, occur commonly in Poland at various depths, more often deeper than ordinary waters. The variety of chemical composition of these waters (Figure 1) is caused by a diversity of geological and hydrogeological conditions. The following types are distinguished:

  • strongly mineralised chloride waters, mainly of Cl-Na, often J type, thermal
  • medium mineralised, bicarbonate waters, mainly of HCO3-Ca-(Mg), sometimes with Fe and saturated with CO2
  • medium or low mineralised sulphate and sulphide waters,
  • specific waters waters of various mineralization (Fe, F, J, S, H2SiO3, Rn, CO2, thermal).
Fig. 1 Occurrence of curative water deposits in Poland

Thermal waters

Thermal water: groundwater having the temperature of 20°C at the outflow. Taking the purpose of exploitation into consideration, the waters for heating and recreation purposes are considered as thermal waters.

Thermal waters in Poland occur in the area of Polish Lowlands within the large reservoirs of regional importance, also in Carpathians where the deposits are mainly small basins (Podhale) and in Sudetes where they are limited to tectonic zones (Figure 2).

Fig. 2 Occurrence of thermal waters in Poland

In the area of Polish Lowlands, thermal waters from Lower Cretaceous and Lower Jurassic formations are the most perspective for use. They occur in widespread hydrogeological basins. In Carpathians, thermal waters occur mainly in the Triassic formations of the Podhale Trough – a mid-mountain basin, characterized by a small area and high tectonic involvement. High-temperature waters occur locally in Cretaceous, Paleogene, Neogene formations and also in Devonian deposits. In the Carpathians Forehead, thermal waters occur in Cambrian, Devonian, Carboniferous, Jurassic, Cretaceous and Miocene formations. In Sudetes the most perspective formation is Carboniferous aquifer in the vicinity of Jelenia Góra. Strong tectonically involved Carboniferous magmatic and metamorphic rocks are her thermal water collector. Thermal waters are used for municipal heating (Podhale 2, Mszczonów, Uniejów I, Pyrzyce, Stargard, Poddębice), for local-scale heating (Bukowina, Cieplice, Kleszczów GT-1, Cudzynowice, Karpniki), relaxation (over a dozen aquaparks in Zakopane, Bańska Niżna, Bukowina Tatrzańska, Białka Tatrzańska, Witów, Uniejów, Mszczonów, Poddębice, Poznań, Tarnowo Podgórne and Lidzbark Warmiński), fish farming (Trzęsacz), food industry (Uniejów, Pyrzyce) and municipal purposes (Mszczonów, Uniejów).

Waters from mine dewatering are not considered as brines or thermal and curative waters.

Brines, curative and thermal waters resources and output

The presented balance for the year 2022 includes the data about disposable resources and reserves, the amount of brines, curative and thermal waters output. The balance sheet comprises these deposits which are registered in MIDAS and Bank Wód Podziemnych Zaliczonych do kopalin MINERALNE databases. The balance was worked out on the basis of users’ reports collected by Polish Geological Institute-National Research Institute in Warsaw. The data was divided not only according to Paczyński and Płochniewski hydrogegological units division (1996; Table 1) but also according to Polish districts division (Table 2).

In 2022 reserves of groundwaters classified as minerals were calculated as 7,577.05 m3/h (increase by 367.83 m3/h compared to the previous year) in 147 deposits (111 deposits of curative water, 35 deposits of thermal water and 1 brine deposit). In the analyzed period appropriate marshals of voivodeships approved the following hydrogeological and geological reports for reserves determination/update of curative and thermal waters or conditions determination of water injection into the rocks or liquidation undeveloped curative water intakes:

Curative waters:
  • “Hydrogeological documentation for exploitation discharge determination of curative waters by Krzeszowice Zdrój I intake in Krzeszowice for the designed swimming pool complex”.
  • “Hydrogeological documentation for exploitation discharge determination of curative waters by Krzeszowice Zdrój II intake in Krzeszowice for the designed swimming pool complex”.
  • “Hydrogeological documentation for exploitation discharge determination of curative waters intakes within Szczawiczne II mining area in Powroźnik and Krynica-Zdrój for the INEX company”.
  • “Geological documentation from liquidation of P-I and G-1 curative waters intakes in Powroźnik”.
  • “Hydrogeological documentation for exploitation discharge determination of curative waters from Paleogene deposits by P-27 intake in Krynica-Zdrój”.
  • “Hydrogeological documentation for exploitation discharge determination of curative waters by SL-7 intake in Złockie for Sopel Company bottling plant”.
Thermal waters:
  • “Annex no. 2 to hydrogeological documentation from 2011 for presentation the construction and parameters of Toruń TG-2A injection borehole in Toruń”.
  • “Hydrogeological documentation for hydrogeological conditions determination due to thermal waters injection by Toruń TG-2A borehole”.
  • “Annex no 2 to hydrogeological documentation for exploitation discharge determination of thermal waters from Lower Jurassic deposits in Stargard with determination of injection conditions”.
  • “Hydrogeological documentation for exploitation discharge determination of thermal waters from the Podhale Basin by Białka Tatrzańska GT-2 intake in Białka Tatrzańska”.

In the analyzed period no documentation considering brines was approved, as well as no hydrogeological documentation for disposable resources determination was approved by the Ministry of the Environment.

The amount of brines, curative and thermal waters intake in 2022 was calculated on 15,540,239.72 m3/year. In comparison to the previous year it has increased of about 2,000,278.31 m3. In 2022 intake was carried out from 83 deposits, including 63 curative water deposits, 19 thermal water deposits and 1 brine deposit. The volume of production of water types was as follows: curative water – 2,110,883.54 m3; thermal water – 13,427,809.88 m3 and brines – 1,546.3 m3.

Notice: in case of springs and artesian flows, only amount of used waters is given, not total amount of outflowing water.

The figure shows changes in resources and intake of brines, curative and thermal water in Poland in the years 1998-2022.

The prospective resources of curative water that can be used, calculated as the difference between the value of disposable resources and reserves, are 38,351.17 m3/h. In the case of brines static resources in the Łapczyca deposit should be considered as prospective resources in the amount of 32,136.45 m3/h. In the case of thermal water only their energy resources are specified. The prospective exploitation resources of thermal water energy are approximately 9.0-9.1 • 1018 J per year*.

Prepared by: Jakub Sokołowski, Lesław Skrzypczyk

* Socha M., Skrzypczyk L., 2020 - "Wody termalne (thermal water, geothermal water)". In: "Bilans perspektywicznych zasobów kopalin Polski wg stanu na 31.12.2018 r." (eds. Szamałek K., Szuflicki M., Mizerski W.): 405-409. PIG-PIB, Warszawa [in Polish].