The level of Lake Neuchâtel in western Switzerland is set to reach its “critical” limit this Saturday after heavy rains, the authorities say. But a return to normal is expected by next Tuesday.
The level of Lake Neuchâtel rose to 430.39 metres by 9am on Saturday morning, Denis Froidevaux, head of the cantonal control staff for canton Vaud, told the Keystone-SDA news agency. This is one centimetre below the critical threshold of 430.4 metres, which should be reached later on Saturday.
So far, however, flooding along the lake shores in canton Vaud has not caused any damage to infrastructure or buildings. The projected level should remain below the 430.71 metres recorded during the floods of summer 2021.
In the town of Yverdon-les-Bains, the lake has overflowed but mobile dams are “holding firm”, said Froidevaux.
Nearby Lake Murten has already subsided by 2cm. A significant drop is expected on Sunday morning. Lake Biel, which reached a record level in the middle of the week, is back below the alert level.
The drop in the levels of the three lakes follows the decision on Thursday by the Swiss federal authorities and cantons Bern, Neuchâtel, Fribourg, Vaud, Solothurn and Aargau to gradually increase the flow at the Port dam, downstream of Lake Biel. This installation serves to regulate the lakes below the Jura mountains.
This measure will enable the levels of lakes Biel, Neuchâtel and Murten to fall quicker, thereby increasing their capacity to absorb water if there is further precipitation. Lake Biel is emptying faster, so a return to normal is expected soon.
The level of Lake Geneva was 372.6 metres on Saturday. It is regulated by the Seujet dam in the city of Geneva. According to Froidevaux, the alert level should be lowered from 3 to 2 late on Sunday afternoon.
But he advises against winter swimming. Thousands of swimmers are due to take to the water in Geneva’s harbour on Saturday for the traditional Christmas Cup.
The recent severe weather has affected water levels, currents and the quality of the water. The excessive rainfall in recent days has led to wastewater being discharged into the lake.
Source: Swiss Info