Climate change and hydrology

Climate change affects the entire water cycle. Surface and underground waters are equally exposed to changes in water quantity and quality. This has direct impacts on hydropower, water supplies, urban drainage, navigation, agriculture, ecology and water-induced natural hazards.

Effects on the water balance and water management

Water availability in Switzerland will not change significantly by the end of the century.  However, precipitation will be distributed differently across the year and the quantity of water stored in snow and glaciers will fall due to the increase in temperature.  As a result, seasonal discharge distribution and thus seasonal water availability will change throughout almost the whole of Switzerland. The “Climate Change and Hydrology in Switzerland” (CCHydro) project initiated by the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) examined the repercussions of climate change on the Swiss water balance. Detailed information on the effects of climate change on water balance and water management can be found here:

Elaboration of hydrological bases for climate adaptation

In order to improve understanding of the hydrological process and update the knowledge base, the project “Climate Change and its Consequences on Hydrology in Switzerland” (Hydro-CH2018) was initiated. It represents one of the core topics of the newly formed Swiss Government network National Centre for Climate Services (NCCS).

New hydrological scenarios will be created on the basis of the updated 2018 climate scenarios. These will focus mainly on the areas of extreme events (floods and low water), natural and man-made reservoirs as well as surface water temperatures and ecology. Climate services for water will also be developed and made available. They give scientifically-based information and data on the past, present and future water balance. They will help authorities, policy makers, businesses and society to reduce climate-induced risks.


Studien des Projekts Hydro-CH2018

Studien des Projekts CCHydro

Klimaänderung und Niedrigwasser (PDF, 2 MB, 30.11.2011)Studie im Auftrag des BAFU, Uni Bern, November 2011.

Klimatologisches Downscaling (PDF, 4 MB, 07.02.2011)Studie im Auftrag des BAFU, ETH Zürich, Februar 2011.

Last modification 24.04.2019

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