Modular Stepwise Procedure

Integrated water protection requires accurate knowledge of the current state of waterbodies. The Modular Stepwise Procedure provides a framework for the systematic investigation and assessment of waters.

In the past, water protection efforts were mainly concerned with the reduction of chemical pollution. Although water quality has been continuously improved in recent decades as a result of the construction of wastewater treatment works, the amount of space available for surface waters has decreased. The development of settlements and roads and the intensification of agriculture are increasingly restricting the ability of watercourses to fulfil ecological functions, and an essential habitat is being lost. For this reason, the emphasis is now placed on integrated protection of watercourses.

Standardized studies of watercourses

If integrated protection is to be assured, an accurate knowledge is required of the state of watercourses. The Modular Stepwise Procedure provides a framework for the standardized investigation and assessment of surface waters.

The procedure comprises a set of methods (modules) for studies of:

  • hydrology
  • watercourse structure (ecomorphology)
  • chemistry and ecotoxicology
  • communities of animals, plants and microorganisms (biology)

The methods are designed in particular for cantonal water protection agencies. They were jointly developed by the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) and the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (EAWAG) in cooperation with the cantonal agencies.

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Last modification 04.02.2014

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