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Local News Summary of July, 8th

  • Hot days in Basel: Lots of sun and too little water
  • Computer science becomes mandatory at Basel’s secondary schools as of 2020
  • Robbery in Barfüssergasse


Hot days in Basel: Lots of sun and too little water

There has not been much rain lately. It was hot last week and it should stay hot and dry in the region for the next few weeks. Water is already becoming scarce in the canton of Zurich. What is the situation in the Basel region?

The Rhine, the Birs, and many other bodies of water in the region currently have low water levels. And over the next few days, it should remain hot and dry. However, February and March were too dry already. And according to Meteo Switzerland, April, May, and June were among the ten driest months since measurements began in 1864, and despite the rain on Friday the fields in the region remain dust-dry. 

Does Basel have enough drinking water reserves?

Do we also have to worry about the drinking water supply in Basel? No, Erik Rummer from Industrial Works of Basel (IWB) states. «In the IWB supply area, drinking water is available without restrictions even during prolonged droughts. The drinking water for Basel is produced in the Lange Erlen and in Pratteln at Hardwasser AG. Furthermore, the groundwater is enriched with pre-purified Rhine water», Mr Rummer continues. «Even at extremely low water levels, the Rhine therefore carries many times the amount of water which is used for drinking water production at Hardwasser AG in Pratteln and at the IWB production plant in Lange Erlen.»

Still, the drought is generating increasing problems for farmers and the forests. If there is still no rain soon, the Basel-Stadt and Baselland crisis teams may prohibit the withdrawal of water from rivers and the like. Farmers would be affected particularly. If necessary, they would have to resort to tap water to ensure the irrigation of their fields. The situation of the farmers is further aggravated by north-easterly winds, which have remained persistent for days. The water requirements at temperatures of about 30 degrees Celsius are enormous – around six litres of water evaporate per square metre of soil per day. In windy weather, it is considerably higher. Fortunately, however, the situation is not yet dramatic.

Zurich has already imposed restrictions

The situation is different in the canton of Zurich. Already at the end of last week, the first communities in the Furttal imposed restrictions on vegetable farmers as to how much water they could still use. The farmers are thus watching their fields with concern. 

People with allergies also suffer in this weather. The grass pollen, which are currently in the air, make hay fever a lot worse.

A few thunderstorms that have been forecast for the next few days will not bring salvation. They will only relieve the drought for a short time. Although the amount of rain can be very large in certain areas, the water can easily pass through the parched soil and drain off directly.

In the long run, however, only steady rain would bring relaxation. But such a weather situation is not in sight for the times to come. It will be interesting to see when the first restrictions of the crisis teams of both Basels are going to be announced. 

Computer science becomes mandatory at Basel’s secondary schools as of 2020 

Basel’s secondary schools will have compulsory classes for computer science by 2020. The search for teachers in Basel has begun. 

In four years’ time, all Swiss secondary schools will have to offer compulsory computer science lessons. The Federal Council decided on this matter last week. The legal basis will soon be public. However, one problem is already on the minds of the responsible parties: The recruitment of teachers. The Conference of Cantonal Education Ministers (EDK) had called for compulsory classes for the subject already much earlier. 

Mandatory in Basel as of 2020

As Ulrich Maier, Head of Secondary Schools and Vocational Training Basel-Stadt, told barfi.ch, the introduction of obligatory classes for the subject computer sciences in Basel is already planned for 2020. Two years earlier than necessary. «This decision comes as no surprise to us. We have been talking to the secondary school authorities about the necessary extended training in computer sciences for a long time», Mr Maier continued.

Last autumn, the Swiss Association for Computer Science in Education (SVIA) wrote that the number of trained IT teachers was far too small. Therefore, the question arises as to whether the canton will have enough computer scientists available in two years’ time. The admission criteria formulated by the EDK are strict.

Teachers need to have a university degree in computer science and a teaching diploma. If they already are a university-level computer scientist, they still have to earn 60 ECTS points for the educational aspects in order to be allowed to teach. 

Large competition

It is estimated that 300 new teaching positions will have to be filled at secondary schools throughout Switzerland. «In order to be able to offer computer science to everyone at Basel’s secondary schools, we need around 20 teachers», Ulrich Maier calculated. «At present, 8 to 10 teachers in Basel-Stadt can teach computer science at secondary schools.»

There need to be enough teachers for all classes. However, Ulrich Maier and the Department of Education assume that «there are enough teachers in Basel-Stadt who are interested in computer science and will complete the additional studies required».

At the same time, the search for computer science teachers must not be underestimated. Computer scientists are sought-after specialists on the labour market and there is a huge competition in this sector. What is more, a career as a secondary school teacher is not necessarily the normal job path that a graduate in computer science is going to take.

Robbery in Barfüssergasse

Last Friday, shortly after 6pm, a 60-year-old man was robbed in Barfüssergasse. He was slightly injured.

Current investigations by the criminal police of the public prosecution state that two well-groomed men addressed the 60-year-old at the corner of Barfüssergasse and Freie Strasse in French and asked him about the way to a museum. When the 60-year-old asked if they were looking for the Kunstmuseum, they both said yes. Thereafter, one of the strangers reached out to thank him. Suddenly, the other man hit him in the face. They then grabbed the 60-year-old by the arm, which enabled one of the perpetrators to open the clasp of a very valuable wristwatch and steal it. Both fled towards Barfüsserplatz afterwards. An immediate search remained unsuccessful.


1. Unidentified man, about 25 years old, 170-180 cm tall, weighed 70-80 kg, brown skin, South American type, slender stature, spoke French with an accent, well-kept appearance, upright posture, confident appearance, clean-shaven, wore a white T-shirt, blue, tight-fitting jeans, glasses.

2. Unidentified man, about 25 years old, 170-180 cm tall, weighed 70-80 kg, brown skin, South American type, slender build, spoke French with an accent, well-groomed appearance, upright posture, confident manner, long, black-brown hair tied into a ponytail, bearded, wore a white shirt, blue, high-quality jeans, white hat.

Anyone who can provide relevant information is requested to get in touch with the criminal police of Basel-Stadt’s public prosecution on the phone number 061 267 71 11 or at the nearest police station.