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Area: 5888268 km2
Brazil; Peru; Suriname; France; Colombia; Guyana; Bolivia; Venezuela; Ecuador
Santa Cruz; Manaus; La Paz
HydroBasin Level:
Baseline Water Stress:
Water Quality Stress:
Sanitation Access Stress:
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2.14 out of 5
WWF Country Risk Score
173 out of 248 Countries
WWF Country Rank
Total Organizations: 14
Total Projects: 7
Priority SDGs: Increase Access to Water, Sanitation, Hygiene (SDG 6.1 & 6.2)
Water Quality (SDG 6.3)
Integrated Water Resource Management (SDG 6.5)
Protect and Restore Ecosystems (SDG 6.6)
Stakeholder Participation (SDG 6.b)
Water-Related Disaster Management (SDG 11.5)
Sustainable Production (SDG 12.4)
Climate Resilience and Adaptation (SDG 13.1)
Priority Regions: --
Priority Industries: Biotech, health care & pharma
Food, beverage & agriculture
Organization Types:
NGO / Civil Society
Bilateral and / or Intergovernmental Agency
International Organization
Multi-stakeholder Organization
Profile Completion: 91%

Water-Related Challenge Costs

Total annual estimated cost to address all water-related challenges: $349,609,494.00

Share of total annual estimated cost to address each individual challenge (2015 $USD):

  • Access to Drinking Water: $78,138,631.00 - [22%]
  • Access to Sanitation: $71,904,753.00 - [21%]
  • Industrial Pollution: $41,011,468.00 - [12%]
  • Agricultural Pollution: $44,633,678.00 - [13%]
  • Water Scarcity: $55,652,716.00 - [16%]
  • Water Management: $58,268,249.00 - [17%]

For more about this data, see information on WRI’s Achieving Abundance dataset here.

Water Challenges

As reported by organizations on the Hub.

Land Use Issues
Physical water supply
Water Demand and Competition among Users

Country Overview

1.1.1.WATER RESOURCES Average annual precipitation in Switzerland is 1,537mm. Average annual renewable water resources stand at 535 million km3. 40,400 million m3/yr of this comes from internal water resources and 131 million km3 from external water resources. In 2009 the country’s total dam (reservoir) capacity was 33.45 million km3. Switzerland has eight rivers: the Rhine, the Aar, the Rhône, the Reuss, the Linth/Limmat, the Saane, the Thur and the Inn. The Rhine is one of Europe’s longest (1,320km) and most important rivers, with an average discharge of more than 2,000m2 per second. Switzerland holds 6 per cent of Europe’s fresh water. The Rhine, Rhone and Inn all have their source in the country, although they flow into three seas: the North Sea, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. The Rhine Falls, a few kilometres downstream of Schaffhausen, are the largest in Europe, at 150m wide and 23m high. Switzerland also has over 1,500 lakes. The two largest, Lake Geneva and Lake Constance, lie on the country’s borders – Geneva with France and Constance with Germany and Austria. Lake Geneva, which lies on the Rhone, is the largest freshwater lake in central Europe. The biggest lake lying wholly within Switzerland is Lake Neuchâtel, with an area of 218.4km2. Probably the best known lake is Lake Lucerne in Central Switzerland (113.7km2).

1.1.2.WATER USE Water is used in many ways. Intensive farming practices and the demands of society at large for water, sanitation and recreation impair water quality and heighten pressures on the aquatic environment. Climate change is altering the temporal and spatial availability of water (FOEN, 2011). Some 80 per cent of water used for drinking and for industry in Switzerland comes from groundwater. In 2000, total freshwater withdrawal was around 26.14 million km3. 0.05km3 of all water withdrawn was used for agriculture, 1.004km3 for municipal purposes and 1.503km3 for industry. Per capita water consumption in Switzerland is 3.603 km3.

1.2.WATER QUALITY, ECOSYSTEMS AND HUMAN HEALTH The quality of Swiss surface water has improved significantly, with decreasing nitrate and phosphorus levels, as a result of excellent wastewater treatment infrastructure and a ban on phosphorus in detergents. However, discharge of micropollutants via wastewater treatment plants and other sources remains a challenge for water protection. The habitat quality of a surface water body depends not only on the quality of the water, but also on its morphology, the water flow and bed-load regime, and the water temperature. Construction work has considerably altered approximately 10,000km of Switzerland’s 65,000km water network (FOEN, 2009). In many rivers and streams, the volume of residual water remaining after abstraction is not sufficient to maintain their diverse functions. In Alpine rivers downstream from hydropower plants, hydropeaking (surge/low-flow dynamics) impairs natural habitat. Stream control measures, gravel extraction and hydropower facilities alter the bed-load regime. This results in more uniform and structurally impoverished habitats, with declining biodiversity. The waterbeds are sealed, particularly near weirs at run-of-river hydropower facilities, impairing drainage and diminishing groundwater recharge. The average temperature of the Rhine at Basel has risen by more than 2°C in the last 50 years. Climate change and discharge of heated water (for example, from cooling plants, and showers and washing machines via wastewater treatment plants) have contributed to this. Many aquatic organisms are sensitive to this temperature rise. Overall quality of groundwater is good, according to National Groundwater Monitoring results. There are some problems in areas of intensive agriculture and in built-up areas, where high nitrate concentrations, plant protection products, pharmaceutical products and traces of chemicals from industrial processes are found. Human health is not at risk from pollutant levels, based on current knowledge. However, pollutants, especially where they exceed national limits, are a warning sign and need to be taken seriously. Switzerland, as part of the Alpine region, serves as a “water tower” with abundant water resources. Only a fraction of these are abstracted. This is reflected in a low water exploitation index. Switzerland generates 1.5 billion m3 of wastewater annually. 1.45 billion m3 of this is municipal wastewater. The rest is industrial and hospital effluent. The impacts of pollution on surface and groundwater need to be considered both in urban and built-up areas (where consequences can include wet-weather discharges and pollutant inputs from heavily used traffic routes) and in agricultural areas (where impacts can include discharge of fertilizers and pesticides via seepage, leaching, erosion, runoff and deposition) (EEA, 2011).

Country Water Profile

Coming Soon

Organizations in Switzerland

Firmenich SA is a private Swiss company in the fragrance and flavor business. It is the largest privately-owned company in the field and ranks number two worldwide. Learn More

Givaudan is a Swiss manufacturer of flavors, fragrances, and active cosmetic ingredients. Learn More

A certification organisation aimed at using a results-based financing approach to finance water impact projects with verifiable, long-term positive impacts. STRATEGIC INITIATIVES + INNOVATIONS Gold Standard strategic initiatives are long-term efforts and innovations focused on mainstreaming credible impact quantification through … Learn More

We are a group of driven professionals from three continents that have a deep interest, dedication and skill to move from theory to practice and produce tangible outcomes in light of our mission: To explore and promote ways for people … Learn More

The only tripartite U.N. agency, since 1919 the ILO brings together governments, employers, and workers of 187 member States, to set labor standards, develop policies and devise programs promoting decent work for all women and men. Origins and history How … Learn More

At 9 years old, Felix Finkbeiner launched the youth initiative Plant-for-the-Planet in 2007. So far, more than 91,000 youth in 75 countries have been trained as Climate Justice Ambassadors that give speeches to their peers and adults, and fight for … Learn More

ABOUT US SAPI is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting children affected by conflict. We support communities by bringing water and sanitation, education, and sustainable care to children and women affected by the conflict in 6 countries ( DR- Congo, … Learn More

Sika is a specialty chemicals company with a leading position in the development and production of systems and products for bonding, sealing, damping, reinforcing, and protecting in the building sector and motor vehicle industry. Sika has subsidiaries in 101 countries … Learn More

Syngenta is a leading agriculture company helping to improve global food security by enabling millions of farmers to make better use of available resources. Through world class science and innovative crop solutions, our 28,000 people in over 90 countries are … Learn More

WASH is critical to leading healthy lives. Yet billions of people every day still do not have access to safe and clean water for drinking or washing, toilets and basic hygiene requirements to ensure that they stay healthy and well. … Learn More

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is an international non-governmental organization working on issues regarding the conservation, research and restoration of the environment. It is the world's largest independent conservation organization with over 5 million supporters worldwide, working in … Learn More

The Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council's (WSSCC) mission is to ensure sustainable sanitation, better hygiene and safe drinking water for all people. Good sanitation and hygiene lead to economic and social development, yielding health, productivity, educational and environmental benefits. … Learn More

The World Economic Forum The World Economic Forum is the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation. The Forum engages the foremost political, business, cultural and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas. It was established in 1971 … Learn More

Myclimate is a partner for effective climate protection, globally and locally. Together with industry partners and private individuals, myclimate wants to shape the future of the world through advisory services and educational programmes, as well as its own projects. It … Learn More

Projects in Switzerland

Givaudan has added a production line in its Geneva site dedicated to manufacturing hand sanitizer. The company will donate over 60 tonnes of hand sanitizer, roughly equivalent to 700,000 bottles, to hospitals, Geneva public transportation, the Geneva airport, NGOs, and … Learn More

This plantation project in the Davos region of Switzerland aims to conserve and sustainably manage local forests in order to maintain the tourist appeal of one of the largest ski resorts. The Greener Davos project has a highly symbolic significance … Learn More

Reduce water use in a targeted area identified in our annual water risk analysis Project Results 7,200 m3 of water annually More than 20% of the site’s water impact Learn More

Nestle is helping the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies respond to the pandemic by donating bottled water and food to those most affected, offering its logistical capacity to support the IFRC around the world, and … Learn More

Syngenta and Huntsman are collaborating to produce and donate 50 tons of hand sanitizer to hospitals and pharmacies, specifically to the CHUV General Hospital in Lausanne, Switzerland and the Swiss Canton of Vaud. This will help address shortages and combat … Learn More

Project WET is currently active in more than 75 countries around the world through a network of partner organizations that range from small NGOs to major international corporations and organizations. We only go where we’re invited! We work with our … Learn More

We are continuing to conduct deep analyses of our key at-risk growing areas and facility watersheds. We realize that much of our impact is beyond our direct operations which ultimately may be affected. We are working to implement strategies for … Learn More

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