Watershed Management

Watershed management is a promising approach to tackle actual deficits and future challenges that water management in Switzerland is facing. This is a view shared by most of its stakeholders.

Watershed Management

Cover Watershed Management

Guiding Principles for Integrated Management of Water in Switzerland. 2011


This publication does not exist in English. It is available in other languages. 2013

Integrated management of water in the catchment area - watershed management for short - is an intersectoral approach to management of water resources, water bodies and water infrastructures. It is based on long-term goals and proceeds in a continuous cycle of planning, implementation and monitoring processes. The reference area is the watershed.

At the very heart is the cyclical process of watershed management that requires - after the initial phase - clearly defined steering, regulated funding, participative action and continuous monitoring of the river system.

This approach allows efficient and targeted water management through regional coordination, transparent balancing of interests and clear priority setting which covers both protection and user interests. This especially when there is a need for coordination between the sectors and within the watershed, beyond the political/administrative boundaries.

Watershed management also offers an opportunity for efficiently tackling new cross-sectoral challenges in the area of water management - whether they are caused by climate change or pressures from settlement and use.

FOEN is active to foster the implementation of the guiding principles of watershed management.  Among others, FOEN supports pilot projects on the cantonal level in order to gain practical experience. Successful implementation requires committed stakeholders at all levels who direct their activities towards jointly developed goals at watershed level.

Further information

Last modification 16.03.2016

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