Department Surface Waters - Research and Management

News Portal

Even the ancient Romans were polluters

November 26, 2018
When a population grows quickly and farms intensively, the environment often suffers. This is not only true today, but was also the case as early as Roman times. Evidence of this has been found by Eawag researchers in sediments in Lake Murten. Read more

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Mischa HaasTel. +41 58 765 5250Send Mail

Satellite pictures reveal the condition of lakes

October 4, 2018
When does the poisonous blue alga reach its critical point and how does the lake react to heat waves? In the future, satellite pictures will answer these questions in real time. This is demonstrated by an Eawag researcher’s new dataset. Read more

Contact

Dr. Daniel OdermattTel. +41 58 765 6823Send Mail

Summer storms wreak havoc in alpine lakes

September 18, 2018
Clear mountain lakes could change with ever greater frequency into milky soup in the future. Climate change is the guilty agent. This has been shown by a new study led by the University of Lausanne in collaboration with Eawag and the French National Agricultural Research Institute using the example of a French mountain lake. Read more

Contact

Dr. Damien BouffardTel. +41 58 765 2273Send Mail

Impacts of anthropogenic temperature changes underresearched

September 5, 2018
Climate warming is not the only cause of temperature changes in lakes, rivers and other bodies of water. The use of waterbodies for heating and cooling also leads to increases or decreases in water temperature. There has been little research to date, however, on how this affects aquatic ecosystems. This lack of understanding has been highlighted by a recent literature review carried out at Eawag and the University of Bern. Read more

Contact

Adrien GaudardScientific collaboratorTel. +41 58 765 5049Send Mail

Pumped-storage hydropower: expansion and ecological limits

August 15, 2018
Eawag has studied how various pumped-storage hydropower scenarios affect temperature and water quality in the waterbodies concerned. In the case of Sihlsee, which serves as a reservoir for the SBB Etzelwerk plant, the question of withdrawal depth was found to be crucially important. The study also highlighted the fact that the assessment of environmental impacts largely depends on the definition of the reference state: whereas in natural lakes water is discharged from the surface, in reservoirs it is withdrawn from the lower layer. The environmental and aesthetic impacts of pumped-storage operations in the riparian zone were not examined in this study. Read more

Contact

Ulrike KoblerTel. +41 58 765 2210Send Mail
Dr. Martin SchmidTel. +41 58 765 2193Send Mail

Bernhard Wehrli new Director of Studies at ETH

August 10, 2018
Commitment to teaching: Eawag scientist Bernhard Wehrli took over the post of Director of Studies in Environmental Sciences at ETH Zurich on August 1, 2018. Read more

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Aquatic research from an altitude of 800 km

July 19, 2018
Thanks to Copernicus – the EU Earth Observation Programme initiated in 2014 – environmental researchers now have access to vast amounts of high-quality satellite data. As this is also invaluable for aquatic research, Eawag is currently expanding its capacity in the area of remote sensing. Read more

Contact

Prof. Dr. Alexander DammRemote Sensing of Water SystemsTel. +41 58 765 6755Send Mail
Dr. Daniel OdermattTel. +41 58 765 6823Send Mail

Improving small hydropower planning

June 5, 2018
Small hydropower plants are often constructed on alpine streams, where they may have adverse impacts on sensitive ecosystems. Little is known, however, about the particular effects of individual plants, or the cumulative effects of multiple plants within the same river system. The current state of knowledge has now been reviewed in a study by Eawag researchers. They conclude that planning tools which consider basin-scale effects could be used to identify sites for plants so as to minimize ecological impacts while maximizing hydropower production. Read more

Contact

Dr. Katharina LangeTel. +41 58 765 2220Send Mail

Spores archive antibiotic resistance

June 20, 2018
Antibiotic resistance is widespread in bacteria spores and preserved for years, as shown by experiments at Eawag and the University of Neuchâtel. Read more

Contact

Dr. Helmut BürgmannMicrobial EcologyTel. +41 58 765 2165Send Mail

A new Rolling Stones album?

March 19, 2018
“A rolling stone gathers no moss.” This is the saying credited with giving the famous British rock band its name…but does it hold true from an ecological or hydraulic engineering perspective? What flora and fauna live in and around streams with pronounced bed-load dynamics? And how do rivers function that have too little gravel movement? Read more

Contact

Dr. Christine WeberTel. +41 58 765 2214Send Mail

Tributaries influence the reaction of lakes to the climate

February 19, 2018
If the climate heats up, the temperature in the uppermost layer of lakes will increase, the thermic layering will become more stable and last longer, and less oxygen will reach the depths – this is the present theory on the effect of climate change on lakes. Read more

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Exploring lakes in Vanuatu

January 24, 2018
A research team from the Surface Waters Research and Management Department is investigating the earliest traces of human life in the tropical Pacific. In July 2017, the team undertook an expedition to Vanuatu in Melanesia. The researchers took sediment cores from the lakes and marshes on seven islands in order to test these for indications of the earliest human activities. Read more

Contact

Dr. Nathalie DuboisTel. +41 58 765 5243Send Mail

Thermal energy from Swiss lakes: new website launched

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

Contact

Dr. Martin SchmidTel. +41 58 765 2193Send Mail

Many Swiss lakes still affected by oxygen depletion

November 27, 2017
Although nutrient inputs to Swiss lakes are today much lower than they were before the introduction of phosphate precipitation at wastewater treatment plants and the ban on phosphates in detergents, many lakes are still affected by oxygen depletion – especially in the deeper waters. Read more

Contact

Dr. Damien BouffardTel. +41 58 765 2273Send Mail

Eawag water experts contributing to a new online course

November 2, 2017
Christian Stamm and Alfred Johny Wüest are lecturing along with other academics and practitioners in a new online course on “Water in Switzerland”, run by the University of Zurich. The course, addressed to the public, examines how this element affects various aspects of life in Switzerland. Read more

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Low levels of antibiotic resistance in drinking water

October 18, 2017
Compared to other foodstuffs, Switzerland’s drinking water shows low levels of contamination with antibiotic-resistant bacteria or resistance genes. This was demonstrated in a study of eight drinking water systems carried out by Eawag researchers on behalf of the Swiss Gas and Water Industry Association (SVGW) and water suppliers. Read more

Contact

Dr. Helmut BürgmannMicrobial EcologyTel. +41 58 765 2165Send Mail

Lake mixing – the might of the microorganism

October 5, 2017
Single-celled bacteria are capable of mixing water layers in lakes – not directly, by movement of their flagella, but by accumulating locally and thus increasing water density. The heavier water then sinks, creating circular currents. Researchers have now observed this process for the first time not just in the laboratory, but in a natural water body – Lake Cadagno (canton of Ticino). Read more

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Lake Geneva plummets to 8 degrees from 23

July 13, 2017
If the wind blows away the warm surface waters of a lake, cold water flows in from the depths. As a result of this effect the temperature in Lake Geneva recently sank to 8 degrees. A project led by Eawag and EPFL had predicted this cooling event. Read more

Contact

Dr. Damien BouffardTel. +41 58 765 2273Send Mail

Newly discovered methane consumers in lakes

June 7, 2017
In freshwater lakes, large amounts of the greenhouse gas methane are oxidized by bacteria before it can be emitted into the atmosphere. A study in Lakes Rotsee and Zug has now shown that the bulk of this work is done, not by “classical” methane consumers, but by filamentous bacteria previously known only as contaminants of water supplies. Read more

Contact

Dr. Carsten SchubertTel. +41 58 765 2195Send Mail

Ecosystem stress caused by micropollutants

June 1, 2017
Micropollutants enter rivers and streams in effluents discharged from wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). As well as having adverse impacts on individual species, these substances appear to alter aquatic ecosystem functions, such as litter decomposition. This was shown by a research project launched by Eawag in view of the planned upgrade of selected Swiss WWTPs to reduce micropollutant loads. The effects of the first upgrades are already evident. The Microbial Ecology group of SURF participated in the study with the question of whether the frequency of antibiotic resistance is influenced by the treated wastewater. Read more

Contact

Dr. Helmut BürgmannMicrobial EcologyTel. +41 58 765 2165Send Mail

Porewater salinity reveals past lake-level changes in Lake Van, the Earth’s largest soda lake

March 24, 2017
This publication in Scientific Reports shows a new way to reconstruct ancient climate events from lake sediment cores. The variability of lake-levels over past millennia is an important source of climate information because it informs us about the ratio between precipitation and evaporation and hence temperature and humidity. The authors show that a very simple method can accurately determine ancient lake level changes: measuring the salinity in the pore water of sediment cores, i.e., the salt content in water that has accumulated in the pore space during sedimentation. Using this tool they reconstructed the considerable changes of the water level of Lake Van over the last 600.000 years. Read more

Contact

Dr. Yama TomonagaTel. +41 58 765 5365Send Mail
Dr. Carsten SchubertTel. +41 58 765 2195Send Mail

Fostering knowledge exchange around sensors

March 17, 2017
The "sensors@eawag" working group organized the second workshop to foster knowledge exchange around sensors, loggers, wireless communication technologies and  electronics. The goal was to exchange information between the departments and open discussion about current, new or future applications.  20 interested scientists and technicians attended the meeting initiated by Bernhard Wehrli, which was held in Kastanienbaum for the first time. Read more

Contact

Christian DinkelTel. +41 58 765 2151Send Mail

Good arguments for thermal use of surface waters in Switzerland

March 16, 2017
Switzerland’s surface waters contain vast amounts of thermal energy which could be used for heating or cooling. Based on numerous studies, Eawag scientists have now estimated the ecological impacts of thermal use.  Read more

Contact

Adrien GaudardScientific collaboratorTel. +41 58 765 5049Send Mail

Breath-taking moments in the Black Sea

February 10, 2017
Periodic oscillations of bottom-water oxygen concentrations can alter benthic communities and carbon storage for decades, reveals a new study published in Science Advances. This is particularly relevant as low oxygen conditions are on the rise in the world’s oceans. Read more

Contact

Dr. Carsten SchubertTel. +41 58 765 2195Send Mail

ETH Medal awarded to Kirsten Oswald

January 21, 2017
Kirsten Oswald received an ETH medal for her excellent doctoral dissertation. The medal has been presented at the graduation ceremony on January 20, 2017. Read more

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Dr. Kirsten Oswald
Tel.  +41 44 633 8575
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