Rivers and streams fulfil many different functions for the benefit of the ecosystem and society: they shape the landscape, they transport water and sediment, they replenish the groundwater and they provide a habitat for flora and fauna. In Switzerland, these functions are restricted in around 10% of rivers and streams – in some cases to a considerable extent – by the fact that the channel flow has been modified, and in particular through withdrawal of water from rivers.
With the help of the map and the information given in the table, it is possible on the one hand to locate the points where water is diverted and returned at present and on the other to estimate roughly the volume of water diverted. This provides, for example, preliminary information about human influence. The plate therefore gives an overview of the current situation with regard to water withdrawal and return for rivers and streams in Switzerland.