Surface waters are those habitats in Switzerland that have departed the most from their natural state. The federal government's water protection policy aims to restore the value of rivers, streams and lakeshores with the following measures: sufficient space provided for waters, rehabilitation projects and the reduction of negative impacts due to hydropower exploitation.
The term restoration comprises rehabilitation projects as well as the reduction of negative impacts due to hydropower use. It is a task that will be undertaken by several generations with numerous synergies between water quality protection, flood protection, biodiversity and habitat enhancement, which usually also benefits local recreation.
The designation of sufficient space for waters, rehabilitation projects and the reduction of negative impacts due to hydropower use form a comprehensive package that is primarily implemented by the cantons and the owners of hydropower plants.
The FOEN provides planning bases for the cantons and the operators of hydropower plants.
Last modification 16.12.2019