Army helicopters bring water for thirsty cows

Army helicopters have been bringing water free of charge. Keystone

As the dry weather continues, Swiss army helicopters have been bringing emergency water supplies to cattle farmers in high mountain pastures.

This content was published on August 3, 2018 - 17:05

The army on Friday carried out is ninth operation of this kind since July 20, bringing several thousand litres of water to high mountain pastures above Weesen, in canton St. Gallen. The water comes from the nearby Walensee lake, according to spokeswoman Delphine Allemand. 

Farmers are not charged for the deliveries, she told the Swiss news agency SDA-ATS. The helicopter operations are financed from the regular army budget, since they also serve as training for the pilots. Another spokesperson said at the beginning of the week that the army nevertheless only intervenes as a last resort when private companies cannot do such operations. 

+ Read more about the drought measures 

So far, the army has intervened only in eastern Switzerland, but may soon be flying also over parts of French-speaking western Switzerland, where canton Vaud on Friday activated its drought and heatwave plan for the pre-Alps and Jura regions. 

The heatwave is expected to continue for several more days, according to the MeteoSwissExternal link weather authorities, with temperatures below 600 metres reaching as high as 32 to 36 degrees Celsius (90-96 degrees F) this weekend.  

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