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Switzerland should prepare for water shortages, experts say

Switzerland should prepare for water shortages, experts say

Hot weather and a lack of rainfall have sparked concerns about potential water shortages in Switzerland in the coming months and years. Experts say people in Switzerland should look to reduce their consumption of water to prevent supply shortages. 

Swiss weather has been dry since the winter

Over the last year, the Swiss weather has been dry, with parts of the country going weeks or even months without rainfall. Even though groundwater supplies are not at alarmingly low levels, hydrologist Massimiliano Zappa explained that water levels in Swiss rivers are not as high as they usually are at this time of year, with many cantons sounding the alarm over record-low water levels. Speaking to Swiss-German broadcaster SRF, Zappa urged caution when using water, stating "there is a deficit everywhere in the large rivers." 

The winter of 2021 was drier and warmer than usual in Switzerland. Additionally, this spring saw high temperatures that do not normally appear until much later in the season, as well as reduced rainfall. Even though the beginning of summer has been marked by some heavy rainfall across the country, it has, so far, not been enough to stem the threat of water shortages. Indeed, as the climate warms, experts say that water shortages are only going to become more likely in future.

Forest fires in Switzerland could also be a risk 

The dry weather has also sparked concern over the growing possibility of forest fires in Switzerland. In the warmest Swiss cantons, such as Ticino, as well as in many French-speaking regions and Basel, the alert level for forest fires has risen to three out of five on several occasions already. 

Forest fires would not only have an obvious damaging effect on local ecosystems, but it would also require a lot of water to tackle any blazes. This adds to pressure in the country to try to conserve water in the coming weeks and months, while experts continue to hope for a little more rain.

Emily Proctor

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Emily Proctor

Emily studied International Relations and Chinese, and is now undertaking Master's degree in International Security. She enjoys writing, cooking, and playing piano.

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