Risks and opportunities for the water economy

Climate change increases the demand for water. At the same time, it is detrimental to both the amount of available water and water quality. The systems for water supply and sanitation are also negatively affected. A positive effect for the water-pipe network results from the decreasing frequency of frost.

Das Bild zeigt einen Bach aus der Vogelperspektive.

The following overview shows the most important risks and opportunities for the water economy based on the Confederation’s climate change analysis completed in 2017. Risks and opportunities for individual parts of the country are addressed in the section Major regions


[R] Risks of climate change
[C] Opportunities due to climate change
[?] Areas for which a clear assessment is not yet possible

[R] More frequent scarcity of water for industrial use and drinking water during periods of drought

  • More frequent situations with bottlenecks in the local water supply
  • Increase in conflicts over the use of water for irrigation, tourism and recreation, cooling, energy production, as residual water, etc.

[R] Endangerment of water quality due to drought

  • Increasing expenditure for the treatment of drinking water (higher concentration of impurities)
  • Decreased natural replenishment of groundwater

[R] Endangerment of water quality due to more frequent/higher floods

  • Contamination of drinking and groundwater due to organic material from soils
  • Contamination of drinking water catchments
  • Contamination of watercourses by overloaded pipelines and retention basins from which polluted water enters the receiving water
  • Contamination of watercourses by leaching of dirt and pollutants from agriculture and settlement areas

[R] Increasing damage to the water supply and disposal infrastructure

  • Damage due to flood, landslides and debris flows, including economic consequential damages due to business interruptions

[C] Positive effects on water supply

  • Reduction of damage and maintenance costs to the water supply network as the number of freeze-thaw cycles decreases

[?] Uncertain impacts

  • Increasing or decreasing the filter performance of the forest floor due to storms affecting the provision of drinking water

Last modification 28.01.2019

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