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Switzerland - Water

The water throughout Switzerland is safe to drink and is subject to strict quality standards. It is sourced from a combination of treated lake water, natural spring water, and groundwater. Tapwater in Zurich tends to be soft with low lime content. In much of the rest of Switzerland it can be hard, and the taste and calcium content vary from one region to another. Water filter jugs are widely available if you prefer filtered water. Bottled water is also available but is not considered to be superior to the tapwater supply. Drinking water is publicly available in cities via water fountains and in the Alps you can also find natural spring water feeding drinking fountains. If in doubt as to whether a public water supply is safe, look for 'Trinkwasser' in German or 'eau potable' in French to indicate that it is indeed drinking water.

Switzerland normally has an abundance of water and it is an important source of hydro-electric power. However, when there is a shortage of rainwater there can be droughts, which are occasionally severe and have a serious impact on agriculture. Local hosepipe and swimming pool filling restrictions are put into force in these situations. Water meters discourage excess consumption of water in Switzerland. The Federal Office for the Environment FOEN (G: Bundesamt für Umwelt BAFU, F: Office fédéral de l'environnement OFEV) has responsibility for ensuring water resources are protected.

Your property will normally be connected to the water supply, except in the case of a home you are building yourself. In this case you would need to contact the regional water company to discuss their requirements and fees. A permit is required to alter, repair or extend a drinking water supply. In some circumstances, such as in an apartment block, you may be on a shared water meter with other homeowners and will be expected to split costs equally.

If you are renting, you will typically billed for water usage in two ways: your personal use and communal use. Communal usage is that of, for example, a laundry room in an apartment block, plus water required for general building maintenance. This will be included in your Nebenkosten, which is billed monthly and again with an annual bill to settle any additional costs. Your personal water usage is billed separately based on your water meter readings, charged per cubic metre, and sewage costs are calculated accordingly.

Useful Resources

Stadt Zürich Wasserversorgung
Postfach 1179, CH 8021 Zürich
Tel: 044 435 21 11

SIG: Services Industriels de Genève
Geneva Gas Supplier
Case postale 2777, CH 1211 Genève 2
Tel: 0844 800 808
Email: Use contact form
Emergencies: 022 420 88 11 (24 hours)

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