Now Switzerland also has to save water because of the heat

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Switzerland is sweating. Mid-June and temperatures of over 30 degrees, several days in a row. In addition, a heat roller is rolling from southern Europe towards Switzerland. Temperatures of over 30 degrees are expected next weekend, on Sunday even up to 35 degrees in some places.

Our lakes and rivers are also feeling the effects of all this. Although the groundwater level in most parts of Switzerland is in the normal range, due to the wet summer last year, hydrologist Massimiliano Zappa does not speak of a relaxed situation. He tells SRF: "The word 'good' is exaggerated, because there is a deficit everywhere in the large water bodies."

The waters in Switzerland carry less water than on average in previous years. This also has to do with the dry winter. Not as much snow melts as usual. The first cantons have therefore already taken precautionary measures. As SRF writes, nurseries and farms in the canton of Aargau, for example, are not allowed to take water from certain bodies of water with immediate effect. In Ticino, the population is even being urged by posters to use as little water as possible. And this has been the case for weeks.

«A rethink must take place in Switzerland»

Massimiliano Zappa, an expert from the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research: "No, saving water is not a popular sport in Switzerland." Nevertheless, it is a very effective means of combating drought. In the longer term, however, the Swiss population will have to change its way of thinking, as is already the standard in other countries, Zappa continues. "People in Spain or southern Italy, for example, can cope with little water because they have also been brought up to meet their daily needs with less water."

The data analysis that Zappa has been conducting for years shows that even Switzerland cannot avoid saving water. The records show that it will not only get hotter here, but also drier. Northern Italy, which borders on Ticino, is currently struggling with a drought that it has not experienced for over 70 years. The level of the Po River has dropped to a record low, and now several local companies are demanding that the nightly drinking water supply be cut off in 125 municipalities in the Po Valley. The request for emergency measures shows how serious the situation is, because soon there might not be enough water for the cooling systems of the power plants.

Heatwave hits large parts of Europe

People in France and Spain continue to groan under a heat wave that is unusual for this time of year. The weather service Météo France declared an orange alert for 23 of the 101 départements on Thursday. This is the earliest period of heat in a year since weather records began in France. In Spain, several forest areas caught fire as a result of the heat

In Switzerland, too, there is a considerable risk of forest fires in some cantons, as a map by  Naturgefahren.ch  shows (see graphic in the photo series). The western part of Switzerland from Basel via Neuchâtel to the Valais is particularly affected.

Parts of Ticino are also affected. These areas are at danger level 3 (considerable danger).

Temperatures of over 40 degrees are expected in France

France has already been suffering from the heat wave coming from North Africa since Tuesday. On Wednesday, temperatures between 30 and 35 degrees were already measured in the south of the country. Temperatures of up to 39 degrees were expected for Thursday, and on Saturday it will be over 40 degrees.

The high temperatures are exacerbating the dryness of the soil, which is already causing farmers great concern after a winter and spring with little precipitation. In addition, the risk of forest fires is increasing. In the south of France, an ozone alert has also been declared locally.

20min, published at 17.06.2022

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