Project description

Due to climate change, an increase in drought situations (duration and intensity) is expected for Switzerland. The hydrological scenarios indicate a significant decrease in summer runoff with a simultaneous increase in water demand, especially by agriculture. Therefore, drought events such as those in 2003, 2015 or 2018 and water scarcity must be increasingly expected in the future. 

Within the framework of a project initiated by the FOEN, methods are to be tested to improve information on water resources before, during and after droughts. In this contest, the potential of remote sensing data (aerial photographs, drone images, satellite images) will also be investigated. This is the main purpose of the pilot study at hand. Such data could for example be used to detect, map, and inventory watercourse sections throughout Switzerland that are susceptible to drying out during drought periods. This can ultimately help to gain a comprehensive overview of where particularly vulnerable water bodies or regions are located and to what extent, for example, renaturation projects could be prioritized or water use conflicts anticipated. Furthermore, such an overview might provide valuable information on representative sites for targeted monitoring. Last but not least, such information could be made available as timely as possible during drought events.