Water resource management
Even Switzerland, the moated castle of Europe, may be affected by local, temporary water scarcity problems, as shown by the summer of 2003, the spring of 2011 or the drought in 2015. Buildings in groundwater-protection zones and areas are also increasingly endangering water supply security.
The FOEN provides practical bases for dealing with these water scarcity problems in three modules, which are based on the catchment management concept.
National research programme: Sustainable water use (NFP 61)
NFP 61 (2008-2013) develops bases for the sustainable use of water resources. The 16 projects examine the effects of climatic and societal changes, identify risks and develop strategies for an integrated water management.
Research project CCHydro: Climate change and hydrology in Switzerland
The FOEN project CCHydro (2008-2012) creates scenarios of the water cycle and the runoff up to 2050/2100 for the various climatic regions and elevation levels in Switzerland. On this basis, changes in runoff extremes, water resources, groundwater infiltration, soil water content and water temperature are investigated.
Research project: Impacts of climate change on hydropower use
The project (2008-2011) examined climate-related changes in the water cycle as well as the consequences for power plant operation and electricity production on the basis of several case studies in different catchment areas and with different types of power plants. Customers: Swisselectric Research, the Swiss Federal Office of Energy, Canton of Valais, Forces Motrices Valaisannes. Management and coordination: University of Bern, The Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL, Mountain Water Network.
Projekt CLISP: Climate Change Adaptation by Spatial Planning in the Alpine Space
The EU-project CLISP (2008-2011) dealt with the challenges of climate change for spatial planning in the Alpine region and developed initial approaches for "climate-safe" spatial development. Swiss partners: The Federal Office for Spatial Development, Canton of Graubünden. The Graubünden model region focused on the topic of water.
Saas Valley case study : Adaptation to climate change in the mountain area
For the Saas Valley (VS), the case study (2010-2011) analysed the possible impacts of climate change, assessed the need for action and derived adaptation options. The water subproject dealt with water balance, water availability and water use. Supported by: municipalities of the Saas Valley, Canton of Wallis, Mountain Water Network, Schweizer Berghilfe, the Swiss Insurance Association, WWF Schweiz and the Swiss Hotel Association.
Irrigation community agriculture in the Broye Plain
Against the background of increasing droughts, three farmers from the Broye Plain (FR) have joined forces to form an irrigation community. With the construction of a common water catchment from Lake Neuchâtel and a common irrigation network (2005-2009), companies can now irrigate their potato crops efficiently even in the event of water scarcity. Supported by: Participating farmers, supported by the Office of Agriculture of the Canton of Fribourg and the Federal Office for Agriculture
Pilot programme: adaptation to climate change