Interesting facts 

Inspiring, Nutritious and Thirst-quenching Water

Water quenches the thirst and nourishes. Drinking water is essential for plants, trees, animals and humans. Switzerland has so much water that it sometimes seems to be taken for granted. And yet good drinking water is a precious thing. Around 40% of the Swiss population get its water from springs, another 40% from groundwater and the remaining 20% from rivers and lakes. 


In Switzerland the quality of the drinking water is tested regularly. Almost all communes in the World Heritage area get their drinking water from the best possible source: they use precious spring water. Supplying water to villages and farms on the northern side of the Alps has never been a problem, but on the arid south-facing slopes, where the climate is often almost Mediterranean, an audacious system of channels had to be used to convey both drinking water and water for irrigation from the deep gorges to the mountainsides. These old water channels, known as “Suonen”, are evidence of the perpetual struggle for the nourishing and thirst-quenching water, a fight for life.

Water not only quenches the thirst of humans and animals, it is also a source of inspiration. How pleasant it is to hike, lost in thoughts, along the “Suonen” of the Upper and Central Valais. Water is a source of inspiration for distinguished poets too. The powerful Rhone Saga of the Valais poet Pierre Imhasly, is a tribute to his local river, the Rhone, unmatched for its depth and breadth. In this tremendous epic, reminiscent of Pablo Neruda's Canto General, Imhasly follows the river in lyric meanders from its source to the Mediterranean. Johann Wolfgang Goethe as well was inspired at the time by the Staubbach waterfall in the Lauterbrunnen valley.