The high cost of stopping flooding

Heavy rainfall has led to flooding in parts of Switzerland. With this kind of weather only set to continue in future, investing in flood protection systems is seen as the answer. But not all towns can afford it. (SRF/

This content was published on May 5, 2015 minutes

Recent extreme rainfall has led rivers and lakes across Switzerland to rise to alarming levels. On Lake Biel rescue units worked in shifts to protect several locations from flooding. For the village of Saint-Gingolph on Lake Geneva, it was too late, however, with flooded streets and basements. 

According to climatologist Reto Knutti such flooding could become more frequent in future. In a study he showed that global warming is having an impact on weather.

The country is already preparing for more floods in future. The state wants to invest CHF130 million in flood protection next year. Unfortunately many cantonal and communal projects are behind schedule for financial reasons. 

Despite the high building costs, flood protection could pay off in the end. The city of Thun invested in several measures in the past like an underground tunnel at the train station draining lake water away under the town. When the lake went over the high water mark recently, the investment started to pay off.

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