Participants heard that the subsidies had been accepted without difficulty by farmers participating in two pilot projects in the Fribourg canton and the aim now was to expand the scheme. According to the Swiss environment agency, some 10-20% of Swiss groundwater drinking wells have nitrate levels above 25 milligrams per litre (mg/l), which is the country's safety limit for groundwater sources used for drinking water. The nitrate limit for surface water is 50 mg/l, the same that has been introduced in the EU under the 1991 nitrates directive.
The groundwater strategy makes up a third component of Switzerland's policy on nitrate pollution, which has already included a programme of repairs to water distribution systems to reduce the risk of nitrate contamination and limits on livestock numbers. The official claimed that Switzerland was the first country in Europe to pursue a policy of limiting arable farming in targeted areas in order to reduce nitrate soil deposition from air and its eventual leaching into groundwater.
Please enter your details
Not a subscriber?
Take a free trial now to discover the critical insights and updates our coverage offers subscribers.