The FOEN monitors water levels and water quality in rivers, lakes and groundwater bodies. It is legally responsible for protecting water from pollution and overexploitation, and it develops measures designed to reduce the risk of flooding as far as possible.
Water is used for a wide variety of purposes - for drinking, sanitation, irrigation, power generation, in trade and industry, for transporting treated wastewater, and for navigation, sport, fishing and recreation. This intensity of use poses risks for waterbodies, in terms of both quality and quantity. Integrated water resources management seeks to reconcile the diverse requirements and to promote sustainable development.
GEWISS, Switzerland's information system for bodies of water provides a brief introduction to the diversity of topics and information concerning water and bodies of water.
Integrated water management
Water management covers all human activities relating to the use of water, protection of water and protection against the hazards of water. Integral water management attempts to harmonise these three main objectives.
Further information on water
Data collection and foundations
- The FOEN operates and oversees various monitoring networks and is thus in a position to provide current information, long-term data series and comprehensive overviews of flow rates, water levels and water quality for lakes, rivers and groundwater bodies.
Flood protection / natural hazards
- Switzerland is frequently affected by flooding and other natural hazards. Run-off measurements are used for flood prediction and spatial planning measures help to reduce or even prevent damage.
- Thanks in part to the expansion of wastewater treatment facilities, water quality has been substantially improved in Switzerland's waterbodies. However, ongoing efforts are required to control pollution and prevent other forms of damage.
- More than 80% of the country's drinking water is sourced from groundwater bodies. Numerous lakes and rivers are used for hydropower generation, and there is a need to ensure that adequate residual flows are preserved. Fisheries are dependent on good-quality surface waters.
- The FOEN is committed to sustainable management and integral protection of groundwater. It monitors, documents and evaluates the status of groundwater at national level and provides instruments to safeguard groundwater resources.
Hunting and fisheries
- Information on alluvial zones is available on the corresponding pages in French / German / Italian.