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Swiss resort faces serious threat of flooding from glacier movement

The Swiss resort of Grindelwald faces a serious threat of flooding as a result of glacier movement above it. For the past several years, rock falls from the east side of the mountain onto the Lower Grindelwald Glacier have hastened the chance of flooding by creating a dam effect on the edge of the ice mass – spelling danger for the ever-expanding lake that regularly forms and empties there.

The rock falls have created a dam at the end of the glacier that is blocking the outflow of melt water, resulting in a lake expanse that fills quickly during rainfall. The filling of the lake has already caused major flooding. In May 2008, 800,000 cubic metres of water from the lake spilled over, creating floods in Grindelwald, which continues to be threatened by the degrading mountain. Rock falls may also prevent the normal passage of melt water that flows underneath the glacier, and through Mount Eiger itself.

On Tuesday November 24th, ACT, in partnership with the Swiss Consulate General, and GLOBE Foundation, is delighted to welcome a Swiss expert on snow and permafrost, to Vancouver, as the keynote speaker for a special seminar on clean energy. Dr. Lehning is the Head of Research Unit “Snow and Permafrost,” Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research, in Davos, Switzerland. The challenges Switerzland faces in light of climate change such as flooding in the Grindelwald valley, are similar to those of BC, due to the similar geographic makeup the two places share.

The seminar will explore research and development, barriers and opportunities in a number of areas for clean energy such as hydroelectricity, waste-to-energy and geothermal energy. The panel will be moderated by Mr. Bruce Sampson, former VP Sustainability for BC Hydro, and the current Chair, International Centre for Sustainable Cities BC. Mr. Sampson is also ACT policy author for the Energy session that will kick off at this seminar event.

For more information on the seminar and ACT’s energy session, visit the ACT website here.

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