Modular Stepwise Procedure

The Modular Stepwise Procedure (MSP) is a series of methods for monitoring and assessing the status of water bodies. It is used to assess the state of the main aspects of watercourses. Initial methods also exist to assess lakes and spring habitats. Other methods have been developed to identify the causes of shortcomings and to assess the impact of remedial measures taken.

Standardised monitoring of water bodies

In order to be able to protect water bodies properly and to take action where necessary, we must first know what condition they are in. The MSP provides a framework for this. The MSP is designed to:

  1. assess the condition of water bodies based on the water quality requirements and ecological objectives listed in Annexes 1 and 2 of the Waters Protection Ordinance (WPO)
  2. identify the causes of shortcomings
  3. demonstrate the impact of measures taken.

The methods are aimed in particular at the cantonal water protection agencies. They have been developed jointly by the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag), cantonal agencies and the Swiss Water Association (VSA).

The website Module Stepwise Procedure ( contains a comprehensive set of methods with field and laboratory protocols and other useful information.

Further information

Last modification 27.09.2021

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