GENEVA, July 25 (Xinhua) -- Switzerland may be blessed with ample lakes and rivers, but weather officials warned Wednesday that during the current hot spell, the environment is feeling the heat in below-average water levels and with a high risk of forest fires.
The Federal Office for the Environment said the low water levels seen in various smaller and medium-sized rivers was normally seen only every five years, the Swiss news agency SDA-ATS reported.
The flow rates of the Aare, Reuss and Limmat rivers, which are big, were near their lowest levels for the season said the office.
Lake Lucerne, Lake Zurich and Lake Zug are all at a low level and as a number of European countries known for water abundance Switzerland faces forest fire warnings.
St Gallen in northeastern Switzerland has become the latest canton to ban making fires in or near forests.
Several cantons imposed such a ban last week, but rain over the weekend hasn't eased the situation in eastern Switzerland.
The authorities in canton Thurgau said they had seen only a few drops, justifying a ban that will come into effect on Friday.
They noted that the dry spell for this time of year is exceptional and needs special measures, saying the topsoil in forests, meadows and fields is very dry, with trees showing symptoms of stress, with discolored leaves and fruit having to be thrown away.
The canton of St Gallen has imposed a total ban on fireworks on August 1, Swiss National Day, following on from the canton of Thurgau.
The public has also been called on to save water, as river and lake levels are considerably below average.
On the German shore of Lake Constance, a landing location for ships can no longer be used owing to the low water level.