Department Surface Waters - Research and Management

Surface Waters -
Research & Management (Surf)

We focus both on processes in the aquatic environment as well as on entire systems of natural waters.

We perform basic and applied research and several projects have a problem-oriented and interdisciplinary focus, including system analysis. Read more


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January 17, 2018

How much thermal energy from Swiss lakes can be exploited without having an impact on their ecosystems? Eawag was commissioned by the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) to estimate the potentials with the larger lakes and rivers. Read more

December 11, 2017

The composition of cyanobacterial communities in peri-alpine lakes has become increasingly similar over the past century. Climate warming and a period of eutrophication have favoured in particular potentially toxic species which can adapt rapidly to environmental changes. These are the findings of an Eawag-led study analysing DNA extracted from sediment cores. Read more

Latest Publications

Råman Vinnå, L.; Wüest, A.; Zappa, M.; Fink, G.; Bouffard, D. (2018) Tributaries affect the thermal response of lakes to climate change, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 22(1), 31-51, doi:10.5194/hess-22-31-2018, Institutional Repository
Dubois, N.; Saulnier-Talbot, É.; Mills, K.; Gell, P.; Battarbee, R.; Bennion, H.; Chawchai, S.; Dong, X.; Francus, P.; Flower, R.; Gomes, D. F.; Gregory-Eaves, I.; Humane, S.; Kattel, G.; Jenny, J.P.; Langdon, P.; Massaferro, J.; McGowan, S.; Mikomägi, A.; Ngoc, N. T. M.; Ratnayake, A. S.; Reid, M.; Rose, N.; Saros, J.; Schillereff, D.; Tolotti, M.; Valero-Garcés, B. (2017) First human impacts and responses of aquatic systems: a review of palaeolimnological records from around the world, Anthropocene Review, doi:10.1177/2053019617740365, Institutional Repository
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Research Projects

Wastewater is a source of antibiotic resistant bacteria. We study their dissemination in the aquatic environment, and strategies to remove them.
Lakes store large amounts of heat. To what extent can this heat be used to replace the use of fossil fuels or electricity for heating and cooling purposes?
We assess the environmental impacts of hydropower plants to support a sustainable development of this energy resource.
4’000 river kilometers will be rehabilitated in Switzerland over the course of the coming 80 years – a unique opportunity for learning!