The "Basel-Landschaft 21 Regional Water Supply" project will examine current contamination issues and threats to groundwater and drinking water, as well as structural shortcomings in the water supply system. Appropriate solutions for the Canton will be developed from the examples in order to ensure the high quality of the drinking water.
The Canton of Baselland is characterised by urban areas in the valleys and rural areas and woodlands on the hills. This spatial structure has an impact on the structure of the water supply systems and on the quality of the groundwater and drinking water. The challenges thus vary greatly, depending on the type of water supply, and they range from microbial loads from agricultural areas to contamination with trace substances from sewage treatment plants or from earlier deposits.
The "Basel-Landschaft 21 Regional Water Supply" project will look at these specific challenges in five sub-projects:
- In water supplies sourced from karst springs, the microbiological safety of the drinking water will be assessed;
- In the valleys, the effects of river revitalisation projects on groundwater quality will be examined, in order to determine the appropriate level of treatment for the groundwater;
- For drinking water from the Hardwald, the possibility of adding an extra processing stage to complement the activated carbon filtration will be clarified;
- Also in the Hardwald, a water management strategy will be established for the infiltration of water from the Rhine and the abstraction volumes in the wells.
- For the purposes of further developing the structure of the water supplies, the natural, social and economic challenges for regional water supplies will be analysed on the basis of cross-sector studies. Shortcomings of the water supply system will be identified and alternative organisational forms will be evaluated.
In order to anchor the insights from the project properly within the Canton, a sixth sub-project, "Integration and Education" will ensure that the knowledge is transferred into the Canton as well as to the communities and engineering firms. An important factor in anchoring the knowledge is the cooperation with the water suppliers.
The project is being run jointly by the Office of Environmental Protection and Energy, the Cantonal Laboratory, the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag), the Department of Applied and Environmental Geology at the University of Basel, and Hardwasser AG. The project has a total budget of 5.2 million Swiss francs and is being funded primarily by the Drinking Water Fund and by Eawag. It was launched on 1 March 2013 and will take three years.