List of places in Switzerland flooded by reservoirs

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This list names places in Switzerland that are flooded by reservoirs .


In order to utilize hydropower , reservoirs were not only built in remote, uninhabited mountain valleys in Switzerland , but also in inhabited areas. After the construction of the dam , the local population was resettled and the respective area was flooded. The relocations were either forced or after the mostly poor farmers had been persuaded with monetary payments and approved the relocation in a referendum. The loss of the homeland often roused the minds for decades and divided the affected population into missionary supporters and no less passionate opponents.

List of places in Switzerland flooded by reservoirs

Willerzell , Sihltal around 1924, before the flooding. Recorded by Walter Mittelholzer
Willerzell, Sihlsee around 1948. Taken by Werner Friedli


  • Sihlsee : The construction of Switzerland's largest reservoir in terms of area near Einsiedeln in the canton of Schwyz began in 1932. Roads were built around the future lake, two viaducts across it, a dam and two dams before the valley was flooded in 1937. As a result, 55 farms and high-yield peat cuttings have completely disappeared. 1762 people from Willerzell , Euthal , Gross , Steinbach had to give way to the lake; several families deprived of their livelihoods emigrated to the United States.
  • Wägitalersee : Due to the construction of a 66 meter high dam between 1922 and 1924, the village of Innerthal in the canton of Schwyz had to be abandoned. The church was blown up. The bathing hotel, which enables active bathing and spa operations. had, was flooded. The village was rebuilt at its current location.
  • Lago di Vogorno : Part of the village of Vogorno in the Verzasca Valley had to give way to the reservoir that was opened in 1965; Replacement buildings were erected on the slope above the lake.
  • Lai da Marmorera : In 1954,the Marmorera reservoirin the canton of Graubünden was completed, which flooded the old village. The buildings of the old village were demolished or blown up before the valley was flooded. The new Marmorera was built above the reservoir and the Julier Pass road, but many residents preferred to move to another village for economic and emotional reasons.
  • Göscheneralpsee : The dam in the Göschen Valley near Göschenen in the canton of Uri was completed in 1960. The damming began in 1962. The Göscheneralp , apermanent settlementalso known as Alpdörfli or Hinteralp , with several houses and a church, sank into the floods forever in 1963. Around 100 people had to be relocated. The village was merged with the existing Gwüest settlement down the valley.
  • Zervreilasee : The village of Zervreila above Vals in the canton of Graubünden was flooded after the Zervreilasee dam was completed in 1957. The village was not rebuilt, but the Zervreila restaurant was built from the wood of the old houses.
  • Lac d'Emosson : The summer village of Emosson in the Barberine valleyin Valais was flooded in 1974 after the dam was built. The village of Barberine, located further north, had already been flooded in 1924 when the Lac de Barberine was dammed, which was later expanded into the larger Lac d'Emosson.

Unrealized projects

However, the plan to turn the Urserental into a single reservoir and to flood the villages of Andermatt , Hospental and Realp was not realized . The reservoir projects were successfully combated by the population in 1920 and 1946.

The Sufnersee near Sufers in the Rheinwald should also have been higher, so that the whole valley would have been flooded as far as the Hinterrhein. The villages of Sufers, Splügen , Medels and Hinterrhein would have sunk. The construction of the elevated wall was prevented by violent protests and, instead, another large storage lake, Lago di Lei, was built, which is managed by the Hinterrhein power plants.

During the construction of run- of -river power plants and the associated damming of rivers, parts of the settlements had to be abandoned. One example is the former Oberriet district of Eglisau , which had to be mostly demolished due to the construction of the Eglisau-Glattfelden power plant between 1915 and 1920.


  • Karl Saurer: The dream of big blue water. 1993 (to the Sihlsee)
  • Gieri Venzin: Electricity for Zurich. A requiem for Marmorera. 1997



  • Erich Haag: The limits of technology. Resistance to the Ursern power plant project. 2004
  • Paul J. Mark: A mountain village is going under. The fate of Marmorera. 2005
  • Emanuel Müller, Reto Gamma: High tension - how the Urschner fought against a reservoir and the Göscheneralp had to go under. 1982
  • Karl Saurer (ed.): The Sihlsee. A landscape changes its face. 2002
  • Marlis Schuler-Kälin: The Sihl high valley before the construction of the reservoir. Stories of residents and properties. 2004
  • Martin Steiner: Old Göscheneralp. Stories and pictures from the time before the reservoir (1920–1955). 2008


  • Meinrad Inglin : Urwang. Roman, 1954 (about Wägitalersee)
  • Beat Hüppin: valley water. Roman, 2016 (about Wägitalersee)

See also