Water resources and hydrology

Climate change affects Switzerland’s entire water cycle. Surface and underground waters are equally exposed to changes in water quantity and water quality. The average annual runoff only changes slightly due to climate change. The greatest reduction occurs in regions which are currently still glaciated. But seasonal runoff will change significantly, with devastating consequences for water use.

Auf der rechten Seite befindet sich der Bergsee namens Lac d'Emosson. Im Vordergrund ist ein Staudamm und im Hintergrund sind Berge zu sehen.
© BAFU

Impacts and measures

Impact on the water balance

Climate change affects Switzerland’s entire water cycle. Surface and underground waters are equally exposed to changes in water quantity and water quality. The average annual runoff only changes slightly due to climate change. The greatest reduction occurs in regions which are currently still glaciated. But seasonal runoff will change significantly, with devastating consequences for water use.

Impact on water management

Climate change has major implications for the use of water bodies by humans. Drinking water abstraction, irrigation, electricity generation, heat production and cooling will be limited at times, and there will need to be trade-offs between different uses in order not to overload ecosystems. Flood management will also have to adapt.

Hydrological principles of climate change

The core topic of the NCCS Hydro-CH2018 focusses on the water resources and their future development. The objective is to supply the necessary fundamental hydrological principles for adaptation.

Last modification 16.03.2021

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Contact

Federal Office for the Environment FOEN
Hydrology Division

Papiermühlestr. 172
3063 Ittigen

hydrologie@bafu.admin.ch
www.bafu.admin.ch

Print contact

Effects of climate change on Swiss waters

The report ‘Effects of climate change on Swiss waters’ gives a concise overview of the results and is a gateway to further technical information and data.

https://www.nccs.admin.ch/content/nccs/en/home/sectors/wasserwirtschaft.html