Chemistry professor Andreas Fath from the Furtwangen University in Baden-Württemberg is looking for money for new analysis equipment and for water research at his institute. From 28 July to 24 August he will swim the entire Rhine for this purpose, from the mountains in Graubünden to Rotterdam, including Lake Constance!
The Rhine Water Project is, however, more than just a show: along with those accompanying him, Fath will take water samples all along the way and document the changes in Rhine water quality along the whole stretch, analysing also passive collections that cling to his neoprene suit. Eawag is supporting Fath in these analyses. Matthias Ruff from the department of Environmental Chemistry is convinced that the project will not only stir up emotions but also provide worthwhile results: “At the Rhine monitoring stations we see water quality from one point of view or as a cross-section; the swimming project will give us information about contamination and distribution of material along the entire length of the river.” In late autumn, Andreas Fath will inform the public about the sometimes complex evaluation of the samples, including a presentation at Eawag. But first the scientist has to start out in the cold water of the Tomasee on 28 July, then for a few kilometres on a mountain bike, next day into the Rhine in Ilanz/GR; almost 50 km a day – an ambitious goal!