Elective Course HS2020 | Serendipity | Captive Waters I temporary exhibition

Elective Course HS2020 | Serendipity | Captive Waters I temporary exhibition
October 1, 2020 jrebsame

Work in progress Exhibition “Captive Waters” Serendipity HS2020

After a long journey from its alpine sources, Zurich’s drinking water is stored in hidden chambers underground before it is ultimately directed to the user. Although being vital to everyday life, these very specifically designed and highly connected infrastructures remain mostly out of sight. The fresh-water reservoirs form a ring of single bodies located on the hilltops around the city’s center. A second lake of the city—decentralized, artificial, underground.


Throughout the historic development of Zurich it’s water supply has been critical to its flourishing as a city. Drinking water could initially only be sourced from groundwater wells or local springs. Both of which still play a role in today’s water supply. But additionally and most importantly today is the sourcing of lake water. The latest opportunity gradually became possible due to a combination of better filtration systems and the cleaning of rivers and lakes in and around Zurich. 


Different infrastructure and nationwide fishery and water protection laws established around 1900 made this shift possible. Ever since the water quality is constantly monitored and improved especially in regards to agricultural chemicals. Since 1914 Zurich gains a large portion of its drinking water from the lake even if a plurality of  water  sources is maintained for the water system to  be resilient towards possible threats and natural disaster. 

With support from: