Water: Monitoring networks

The FOEN operates and coordinates several monitoring networks on the topic of water. Long-term measurements at permanent gauging stations and individual readings at temporary sites enable the FOEN to keep track of water flow and quality in Switzerland’s rivers and groundwater, as well as the water level in its lakes.

Basic monitoring network

The FOEN Hydrology Division’s basic monitoring network now comprises some 260 gauging stations on surface waters. In addition to lake water levels, river discharge is measured at 200 sites.

Sediment transport

The FOEN operates nationwide monitoring networks for sediment transported in bodies of water.

Hydrological Study Areas

Since 1957, the hydrology division of the FOEN has operated a network of hy-drological study areas aimed at observing long-term changes in the water re-gime within Switzerland’s most natural catchment areas and reflecting the scope of its wide-ranging climatic regions.

Monitoring network: Water temperature

Temperature is one of the key physical parameters influencing the chemical and, above all, biological processes in a watercourse. The FOEN operates a water temperature monitoring network for watercourses. A federal pilot project for long-term monitoring of lake water temperature runs until 2024.

Surface Water Quality (NAWA)

In order to be able to assess the condition waterbodies in Switzerland over time, data must be regularly collected and documented. The FOEN, in cooperation with the cantons, provides this basis with the National Surface Water Quality Monitoring Programme (NAWA). The National River Monitoring Survey Programme (NADUF) is a long-term federal sub-programme in which the two federal research institutes Eawag and WSL monitor the state of rivers on the basis of their substance loads.

NAQUA National Groundwater Monitoring

The NAQUA National Groundwater Monitoring provides a nationally representative picture of the situation and development of the groundwater resources in terms of both quality and quantity.

Bathing water quality

Virtually all rivers and lakes in Switzerland are safe to swim in, in terms of water quality. Thanks to various protective measures and major advances in wastewater treatment in recent decades, the water in Swiss rivers and lakes is now very clean.

Further information

Last modification 28.01.2023

Top of page