National Surface Water Quality Monitoring Programme (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.

NAWA goals:
  • Obtain an overview of the state of surface waters in Switzerland: simple, uniform and comparable throughout Switzerland
  • Document the medium and long-term changes in the state of surface waters
  • Lay the foundations for the early detection of problematic changes and for steering national water protection policy
  • Provide a uniform data pool for in-depth analyses
  • Monitor the performance of current and future water protection measures and other policy areas

The cantons conduct their own surveys by monitoring the state of waterbodies and to enforce water protection legislation. NAWA does not replace these surveys, which are conducted with adapted methods at many monitoring sites.

NAWA is limited primarily to rivers and streams, but lake studies are being planned for the future.

NAWA – Nationale Beobachtung Oberflächengewässerqualität

This publication does not exist in English. It is available in other languages. 2013

Gewässer in der Schweiz


This publication does not exist in English. It is available in other languages.

Monitoring concept

  • TREND Basic monitoring network for long-term continuous monitoring
    The TREND monitoring programme is intended to provide a long-term overview of the state of Swiss watercourses. Watercourses at 130 monitoring sites throughout Switzerland are studied using a uniform set of parameters (nutrients, micropollutants and biological indicators). Chemical and physical parameters have been recorded since 2011, the first biological surveys took place in 2012 and micropollutants have been measured at selected monitoring sites since 2018.
  • SPEZ: Problem-related special monitoring
    Specific issues are clarified with temporary monitoring programmes. These surveys take place at selected monitoring sites that are closely studied using specific methods. As part of these surveys, a screening analysis was conducted in 2012 on plant protection products and biocide active ingredients at five monitoring sites. Other programmes are being developed on an ongoing basis.In 2015 and 2017, the pesticide load was recorded in five small streams, each in intensively farmed areas, and in 2018 the biological state of small streams was investigated. Further programmes are being developed on an ongoing basis.
  • NADUF: Long-term study of sediment load in rivers
    The National River Monitoring and Survey Programme (NADUF) monitors changes in concentrations and loads of important substances in the water of selected Swiss rivers. Since 1972, chemical parameters (nutrients, geogenic substances, heavy metals), the level (discharge) as well as water temperature, electrical conductivity, pH and oxygen are continuously studied at selected sites (samples are collected).


Further information

Last modification 23.08.2022

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