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Swiss Federal Office for Water and Geology
Ministry or Agency
The Federal Office for Water and Geology (FOWG) belongs to the Administration of the Federal Department for the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communication (DETEC). The FOWG is the confederation center regarding water use, water management, hydrology, geology, and natural hazards of flooding, earthquakes, and distribution of earth masses. The FOWG carries out its tasks with 130 staff members and an annual budget of Sfr. 103 million.

The Directorial Board manages the following five divisions, structured in several sections:

  1. National Geological Survey (Geological Information Center, Geological Mapping, Hydrogeology)
  2. National Hydrological Survey (Hydrometry, Instruments and Laboratories, Data Processing and Information, Analyses and Forecasts)
  3. Water Resources Management (Hydrological Systems)
  4. Water Use (Water Use, Dam Safety, Computer Services)
  5. Natural Hazards Mitigation (Risk Management, Water Risks, Geological Risk).
The Natural Hazards Mitigation Division is responsible, amongst various matters, for the:
  • Inventory of mass movements in Switzerland;
  • Recommendations on considering hazards in mass movements; Usage of Remote sensing in the geological risks sector;
  • National platform for natural hazards (PLANAT), with the mandate of coordination in the field of the prevention.
The Geological Risks Section is the coordinating agency for federal forecasts of earthquakes; the Office’s specialized agency on mass movements (landslides, rockslides, and mountain slides); the contact center for cantonal agencies and the federal administration in the task areas assigned to them.

The Geological Risks Section is responsible for:

  • developing a coherent federal policy on coping with earthquakes;
  • coordinating federal measures on coping with earthquakes;
  • drawing up and carrying out an inventory of earthquake security in existing federal structures;
  • drafting guidelines, recommendations, reports on assessing geological risks, and editing implementation manuals;
  • documenting geological events of national importance;
  • advising and supporting officials and expert committees in the geological risks sphere.