Heavy snow this winter means there is a lot of snow in high places ready to melt and flow from the mountains to the plains.
According to the 20 Minutes, Ueli Winzenried, head of insurance at the GVB, the canton of Bern’s state buildings insurer, told the Bieler Tagblatt that he is very concerned that heavy rain and melting snow might come together to bring floods to low lying parts of Switzerland this May.
Because of this he is calling for the canton of Bern to lower lake levels so they’ll have room to absorb any excess water. He also recommended those in the canton living in flood risk zones empty their basements and fill sand bags as a precaution.
Bernhard Wehren, the person responsible for regulating lakes in Bern, told the newspaper that he thinks Winzenried’s warning is premature. He pointed out that further heavy rain and high temperatures would be required before there would be catastrophic floods, but said he would continue to monitor the situation.
In French-speaking Switzerland one of the regions most at risk in the region around Lake Neuchâtel. Water flowing into Lake Bienne cannot be regulated and any excess can spillover into Lake Neuchâtel. This happened in 2015 when the city of Yverdon and the area around the river flowing out of the lake were flooded.
Lake Geneva is largely flood proofed by the Seujet dam in Geneva, which can absorb excess water.