When Water Becomes the New Oil

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When Water Becomes the New Oil
Authors: Marta Kwiatkowski, Bettina Höchli
Languages: German, French (Summary)
Commissioned by: Verband Schweizer Abwasser- und Gewässerschutzfachleute (VSA)

The Swiss are privileged: turn on the tap and we are guaranteed a flowing stream of clean drinking water – as much as we want, whenever we want.

Yet hot summers, dry autumn weather, melting glaciers and snowless winters are making us take notice here at home. The challenges are mounting globally, too: the catchphrases are privatisation plans, climate change and regional shortages.

Will Switzerland remain Europe’s water tower in the future? Municipalities, agriculture, environmental protection, private households, tourism – there are as many stakeholders in local water management as their individual interests. The system is complex and changes only slowly. All the more reason why Switzerland must prepare itself for the conflicts of the future.

On behalf of the Swiss Water Association (VSA) and water protection experts, the Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute conducted the study Wenn Wasser zum neuen Öl wird: Wie die Schweiz die Konflikte der Zukunft meistert (only available in German). The study illustrates:

  • the complexity of today’s water resources management sector,
  • which trends will put pressure on water resources management,
  • how the sector can organise itself in the future,
  • where there is potential for integrated cooperation.

Summary (PDF), German
Summary (PDF), French