Indicator water

Drinking water use

Drinking water is used intensively in diverse ways. Domestically, it is consumed for drinking, cooking and for purposes of hygiene, cleaning and watering. It is also used by industry and commerce and by the public sector to supply fountains, for watering and to clean infrastructure.

As the water reservoir of Europe, Switzerland has abundant water resources. Because there are significant seasonal and geographical variations in the availability of these resources, the main challenge is to supply the water at the right place, at the right time and in the required quantity and quality.

Assessment of the state
good good
Assessment of the trend
positive positive
Losses 2017: 38.8095752726677 Supply 2017: 6.42120036123611 Public use and fountains 2017: 15.2564162964902 Commerce and industry 2017: 73.0637239116239 Households and small businesses 2017: 165.99845405624 Losses 2016: 38.7205934988449 Supply 2016: 6.18227963426935 Public use and fountains 2016: 16.5945400709335 Commerce and industry 2016: 70.6081410861289 Households and small businesses 2016: 168.223082679856 Losses 2015: 42.4432157480781 Supply 2015: 5.92230917415044 Public use and fountains 2015: 15.4638072880595 Commerce and industry 2015: 69.7516413844385 Households and small businesses 2015: 173.063034755729 Losses 2014: 40.9063245168564 Supply 2014: 6.31886313675018 Public use and fountains 2014: 14.9657284817767 Commerce and industry 2014: 66.1817770638571 Households and small businesses 2014: 171.607019924373 Losses 2013: 42.0719598801791 Supply 2013: 6.05836222274579 Public use and fountains 2013: 15.4824812359059 Commerce and industry 2013: 66.6419844502036 Households and small businesses 2013: 178.385109891959 Losses 2012: 43.2821502026934 Supply 2012: 6.81608664609344 Public use and fountains 2012: 16.3586079506243 Commerce and industry 2012: 66.4568447994111 Households and small businesses 2012: 185.397556773742 Losses 2011: 44.7723926538836 Supply 2011: 7.57686644911876 Public use and fountains 2011: 17.9089570615534 Commerce and industry 2011: 68.1917980420688 Households and small businesses 2011: 190.454870289212 Losses 2010: 42.1228525177978 Supply 2010: 7.65870045778141 Public use and fountains 2010: 22.6279786252633 Commerce and industry 2010: 59.5289899218464 Households and small businesses 2010: 194.948738925345 Losses 2009: 44.336691427184 Supply 2009: 8.44508408136839 Public use and fountains 2009: 19.3533176864692 Commerce and industry 2009: 67.2087941475567 Households and small businesses 2009: 201.62638244267 Losses 2008: 44.4645226466707 Supply 2008: 11.6319191243691 Public use and fountains 2008: 18.497241421015 Commerce and industry 2008: 64.0289126112058 Households and small businesses 2008: 214.141141066366 Losses 2007: 38.6080185607147 Supply 2007: 10.824678101135 Public use and fountains 2007: 18.7627753753006 Commerce and industry 2007: 55.9275035225307 Households and small businesses 2007: 221.905901073267 Losses 2006: 41.9587818818331 Supply 2006: 7.66203843059561 Public use and fountains 2006: 21.1618204273593 Commerce and industry 2006: 57.6477177159099 Households and small businesses 2006: 220.958593979462 Losses 2005: 46.647701498787 Supply 2005: 9.54992314148395 Public use and fountains 2005: 20.2017604916007 Commerce and industry 2005: 63.1764146282784 Households and small businesses 2005: 243.15573537163 Losses 2004: 45.4465679527799 Supply 2004: 10.3455601843727 Public use and fountains 2004: 25.1249318763336 Commerce and industry 2004: 66.1376883215252 Households and small businesses 2004: 233.144588440684 Losses 2003: 47.6215279069594 Supply 2003: 10.4172092296474 Public use and fountains 2003: 21.578504832841 Commerce and industry 2003: 58.7828235101531 Households and small businesses 2003: 265.266792169235 Losses 2002: 46.4487322118212 Supply 2002: 10.4884234026693 Public use and fountains 2002: 28.8431643573406 Commerce and industry 2002: 68.9239252175411 Households and small businesses 2002: 246.103363412633 Losses 2001: 46.0648532721149 Supply 2001: 8.3067768195617 Public use and fountains 2001: 21.1445228134298 Commerce and industry 2001: 65.6990530274426 Households and small businesses 2001: 245.805077706121 Losses 2000: 54.7640960501396 Supply 2000: 12.9304115673941 Public use and fountains 2000: 26.2411293573585 Commerce and industry 2000: 65.4126702821112 Households and small businesses 2000: 251.002106896473 Losses 1999: 56.7525603665206 Supply 1999: 7.64859304131005 Public use and fountains 1999: 26.5406178533459 Commerce and industry 1999: 68.1872069632791 Households and small businesses 1999: 245.2138929044 Losses 1998: 52.5332082176398 Supply 1998: 7.65308084576158 Public use and fountains 1998: 25.9204848745895 Commerce and industry 1998: 71.2236468660826 Households and small businesses 1998: 250.051917885135 Losses 1997: 52.8949359855446 Supply 1997: 9.11182838875076 Public use and fountains 1997: 26.4088585504471 Commerce and industry 1997: 68.8020262235332 Households and small businesses 1997: 250.691109017621 Losses 1996: 57.3017122804031 Supply 1996: 8.74421807925125 Public use and fountains 1996: 29.5987912859611 Commerce and industry 1996: 72.7395132256299 Households and small businesses 1996: 238.686200579208 Losses 1995: 57.4946753413019 Supply 1995: 8.69015335792957 Public use and fountains 1995: 27.5834778459282 Commerce and industry 1995: 84.3798372923965 Households and small businesses 1995: 236.884269658562 Losses 1994: 55.5438037279327 Supply 1994: 7.84561106768409 Public use and fountains 1994: 30.6798522348244 Commerce and industry 1994: 84.076846964137 Households and small businesses 1994: 247.000133513955 Losses 1993: 55.9852288635071 Supply 1993: 8.84598068419179 Public use and fountains 1993: 29.1720785229791 Commerce and industry 1993: 79.5745106880186 Households and small businesses 1993: 242.93028732276 Losses 1992: 66.7088379951617 Supply 1992: 11.5015237922693 Public use and fountains 1992: 37.5980846726595 Commerce and industry 1992: 82.2160649012903 Households and small businesses 1992: 277.622988089258 Losses 1991: 68.9859417300934 Supply 1991: 8.8084197217763 Public use and fountains 1991: 38.3166257897269 Commerce and industry 1991: 100.295870013862 Households and small businesses 1991: 262.170601537233 Losses 1990: 61.0388880846082 Supply 1990: 8.15745778258394 Public use and fountains 1990: 41.4772231532378 Commerce and industry 1990: 100.283971048582 Households and small businesses 1990: 259.00943068881 Losses 1989: 62.0290541051606 Supply 1989: 9.81134608281494 Public use and fountains 1989: 42.2832069677799 Commerce and industry 1989: 84.1969490203073 Households and small businesses 1989: 280.300715704855 Losses 1988: 65.6378127139197 Supply 1988: 10.3050538245687 Public use and fountains 1988: 39.9786425483269 Commerce and industry 1988: 95.725259020994 Households and small businesses 1988: 263.047879955658 Losses 1987: 69.7573036392346 Supply 1987: 9.67924308869762 Public use and fountains 1987: 38.0494383486734 Commerce and industry 1987: 91.5773214641865 Households and small businesses 1987: 271.978386617327 Losses 1986: 69.3812793588306 Supply 1986: 9.15564098076579 Public use and fountains 1986: 31.0367829577336 Commerce and industry 1986: 97.6881693635836 Households and small businesses 1986: 265.639583501576 Losses 1985: 81.1588037354562 Supply 1985: 11.0267817672848 Public use and fountains 1985: 34.6857771300414 Commerce and industry 1985: 96.6216471332579 Households and small businesses 1985: 261.220657728436 Losses 1984: 76.3027687753996 Supply 1984: 9.5060179119519 Public use and fountains 1984: 35.6475671698196 Commerce and industry 1984: 104.354009131651 Households and small businesses 1984: 265.234874775444 Losses 1983: 83.1998156373921 Supply 1983: 11.2524340821063 Public use and fountains 1983: 33.3736965389744 Commerce and industry 1983: 111.927620831861 Households and small businesses 1983: 265.79613233339 Losses 1982: 84.2898851481712 Supply 1982: 11.3269876086538 Public use and fountains 1982: 35.5197234067598 Commerce and industry 1982: 111.175451962674 Households and small businesses 1982: 264.837793295167 Losses 1981: 90.8813442336148 Supply 1981: 12.8540784890496 Public use and fountains 1981: 32.371642482456 Commerce and industry 1981: 115.901657546748 Households and small businesses 1981: 266.367459258031 Losses 1980: 82.3832342688636 Supply 1980: 14.1413740713482 Public use and fountains 1980: 32.1316236544701 Commerce and industry 1980: 118.796191357779 Households and small businesses 1980: 226.391722518373 Losses 1979: 86.4045731280617 Supply 1979: 17.6894674361776 Public use and fountains 1979: 35.9874177817078 Commerce and industry 1979: 114.481713088186 Households and small businesses 1979: 263.21232135993 Losses 1978: 78.593530970389 Supply 1978: 16.0412753173062 Public use and fountains 1978: 34.6107951139705 Commerce and industry 1978: 104.965736315417 Households and small businesses 1978: 263.983595982627 Losses 1977: 83.1738210215056 Supply 1977: 15.3605377752203 Public use and fountains 1977: 32.379315423902 Commerce and industry 1977: 105.429145639012 Households and small businesses 1977: 264.271070360041

Data for the graph: Excel
Source: Swiss Society of the Gas and Water Industry
Comment

Drinking water use in Switzerland has decreased since the end of the 1970s despite a rising population. In 1977 it was 500 litres per head per day but the figure is now about 300. Given the average fall in consumption of about 24% from the year 2000 to the present, the trend in Swiss water use can be described as positive.

In terms of households, this trend is mainly attributable to the constant improvement in the water-efficiency of domestic appliances, changes in habits (prepared foodstuffs, disposable cleaning materials etc.) and probably also greater awareness among the population. In industry, this reduction is the result of significantly improved efficiency in the use of water, but also the relocation of some production sites, resulting in the transfer abroad of their water use (offshoring).  This consumption reappears in the form of “virtual water” or “water footprint” in imports.

The indicator shown here only represents the trend in drinking water use in Switzerland. As is clear from the “Water footprint” indicator, Swiss use of water abroad, namely the water quantity used to produce the agricultural and industrial products we import, keeps increasing. The consequence of this trend is to increase the pressure on water resources in the exporting countries where water is sometimes very scarce.

At national level, available drinking water resources largely exceed average consumption in Switzerland, which is why the indicator status is evaluated as positive. In exceptional situations (e.g. longer periods of drought) however, local or regional shortages may occur. This necessitates ensuring good regional water distribution planning, for example by providing a second connection to protect against damage or drought. These measures are particularly important because these situations could become more frequent and serious as climate change progresses.

International comparison

It is difficult to obtain an international comparison for this indicator. Although the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) issues some data on water use, the definitions and methods of estimation used can vary widely from country to country.

Method

Drinking water consumption by households, commerce and industry is recorded by the Swiss Gas and Water Industry Association (SVGW). The basic data currently derive from around 648 public water supplies; after collection they are extrapolated to the whole of Switzerland.

Figures on self-supply of households, commerce, industry and agriculture are not recorded regularly and are not considered in this indicator. Most recently, in 2008, a study was carried out by the SVGW to obtain a detailed record of self-supply in industry by sector and water origin for the period 1970–2006. A study by the consultants Hunzer-Betatech (Bereinigung und Dokumentation Berichterstattung Eurostat/OECD, May 2015), based partly on the ReKeWaNu project, also provided data on self-supply. Regular collection of these data is not planned at this time.

Basis for assessment of the trend
Targeted trend Initial value Final value Variation in % Observed trend Assessment
Decrease Average 2000-2002 Average 2015-2017 -24.34% Decrease positive
 
Last updated on: 25.07.2019

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