Impacts of Dams in Switzerland

  • Walter Hauenstein
  • Raymond Lafitte
Part of the Water Resources Development and Management book series (WRDM)


In Switzerland, most dams are built to create reservoirs for the production of hydropower, some for seasonal and some for weekly or daily compensation between the pattern of run-off and that of electricity demand, respectively. Only a very small number of dams have been built for flood retention, even though, in fact, many of them are playing that role. Unlike the situation in most other countries, especially in dry areas, almost no dams in Switzerland are used for irrigation. The annual distribution of rainfall allows for agriculture without any significant irrigation and, if the necessity arises, water is taken directly from the rivers, which generally have enough run-off even in periods when there are agricultural requirements for water.


Power Plant Direct Benefit External Cost Flood Protection Indirect Benefit 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors of the present chapter are very grateful and express their thanks to Jean Remondeulaz, former president of Energie de l’Ouest Suisse SA (EOS), for his review of this chapter and his many valuable comments. The authors also acknowledge Alison Bartle of Aqua-Media International for her review of the final English text.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Walter Hauenstein
    • 1
  • Raymond Lafitte
    • 2
  1. 1.Swiss Association for Water Resources ManagementBadenGermany
  2. 2.Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de LausanneEPFL - ENAC - ICARE- LCH, Laboratoire de Constructions HydrauliquesLausanneSwitzerland

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