Use of pesticides – the Federal Council wants more protection zones for drinking underwater cantons should retire for the drinking water to more than 2000 new protection zones are preventive, proposes to the Federal Council. The Plan is controversial. Stefan Häne0 Comment secure in the long term: The majority of the drinking water in Switzerland comes from groundwater.Photo: Manu Friederich/EQ Images

For water suppliers, it has become more difficult to attract drinking water that meets the legal requirements. A reason for this: recent scientific studies have classified certain substances as toxic than in the past, the Federal government has classified, therefore, in certain cases, pesticides; the currently probably the most prominent example, the fungicide Chlorothalonil is.

the water company could, therefore, investments in million height, for example, for the construction of new pipelines or additional treatment facilities. Who should pay? Kurt Fluri proposes to create a nationally uniform, if possible, usage-based solution for the funding; the Federal Council to draw up the appropriate legal bases, calls the FDP national Council in a Motion.

Only 60 units

The Federal Council does not want to secure clean drinking water with the technical treatment measures. Rather, he wants to protect the groundwater, from which 80 percent of the drinking water is extracted, as a precautionary measure, more; this shows his response to the Motion, which he published on Wednesday. It takes years for polluted groundwater is clean again. The Federal Council’s Plan is so classic, the prevention of costly repairs, in retrospect to avoid.

In the center of the proposal is the so-called Zuströmbereiche are – that is, those zones in which Drinking water wells should be protected from contamination by nitrate, pesticides, and other pollutants. Today, the cantons are required to define such areas, if groundwater wells are already contaminated or the specific risk of pollution. Newly, the Federal Council wants to introduce a “General duty”. What this means, the Federal office for the environment (FOEN) on request: The obligation to excretion of Zuströmbereichen would be new in all versions, in which contamination “does not broadly exclude” could be.

areas with a large proportion of agricultural use, with much the settlement would be Affected, according to the FOEN, commercial and industrial areas or major transport infrastructure. In Numbers: Of the approximately 18’000 drinking water country versions far it would be the valleys around 2800 in the Central plateau and in the Alps. “As a result, the risks for the drinking water target can be reduced and addressed,” says FOEN spokesperson Rebekka Reichlin.

Until now, the cantons have excreted only 60 such areas. Professionals locations, therefore, Implementation is lagging behind. Reason for this was that the cantons would have to bear the costs, the necessary financial and human resources were missing, but, says André Olschewski of the Swiss Association of Gas and water compartment (SVGW), watches over the quality of drinking water. Also the municipalities and water utilities are, so far, been too passive.

“It would be most efficient if the Federal government certain plants zuliesse protection.”

Mirjam Bütler, conference of cantonal Ministers of construction and environment Directors,

the Federal Council in Parliament, to come to the cantons, a fairly large chunks. The conference of cantonal Ministers of construction and environment Directors (DTAP) no longer think that it is, therefore, to be the most problematic plant protection agents as possible, and to do this in the current agrarian reform – the new agricultural policy, starting in 2022 – the necessary incentives. “It would be most efficient if the Federal government certain plants would no longer allow protection,” says DTAP-Secretary-General, Mirjam Bütler.

Kurt Seiler, the cantonal chemist and head of the inter-cantonal laboratories, supported this attitude. But he also says: “are Zuströmbereiche a good investment in the future.” With their elimination, the for the drinking water used groundwater could be referred to the Pension protected. However, Seiler needs to participate the Federal to the complex and expensive hydro-geological investigations financially. Of expensive treatment methods, nothing stops Seiler.

Alone, the elimination of the zones is only a first step. Protect groundwater can only be by the authorities on the respective surfaces of the targets, such as the use of fertilizers and plant protection means to restrict. Only: This so-called extensification, which in turn reduces the yield that would have compensated the farmers, such as Seiler performs. This means that the payments paid by the Federal government to the farmers, need to be overridden with additional resources. “This is nonsensical”, says the cantonal chemists and refers to the agricultural policy, starting in 2022. It is planned here, with an appropriate design of the direct payments to take corrective action.

pesticides zone ban

professional Seiler also proposes the approval practice for pesticides accordingly. Newly, it should be possible to adopt for the authorisation of a pesticide ban for use in an area of contribution. In this way, would be prohibited served according to Seiler, the farmers, The drinking water could protect themselves, without the need for the agricultural sector as a whole to strongly constrain, for example, with a General Pesticide.

The proposal is politically piquant, requires, however, the popular initiative “For a Switzerland without synthetic pesticides”, that the use of synthetic pesticides in agriculture is generally prohibited. You probably 2021 to the vote.

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