Water: Information for specialists


Switzerland’s water bodies are used intensively. They supply drinking and process water, are used to produce energy, provide indispensable habitats for animals and plants, and enable people to enjoy high quality recreation. The wide-ranging requirements of society and intensive agriculture pose a challenge to the quality of Switzerland’s water bodies.

State of waterbodies

As Europe’s water tower, Switzerland has substantial water resources. Despite the generally good quality of its water, residues from fertilizer and plant protection products, micropollutants, man-made structures and artificial obstacles damage its surface and underground waters. Analyses and predictions of water levels and flows make it possible to issue early flood warnings.


The federal water protection legislation promotes the rehabilitation of rivers and lakes with a view to restoring their natural functions and boosting their social benefits. An additional treatment stage shall be added to wastewater treatment plants to reduce micropollutant levels in water bodies.

International water protection

Given that one fifth of the world’s population lacks access to safe drinking water, the protection of drinking-water resources is a priority issue at global level. In view of its experience in the area of freshwater management, Switzerland is keen to contribute to the international efforts for the preservation of this essential resource.

Further information

Last modification 09.09.2016

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