"Aare today 20°!" – SMS service from FOEN

On behalf of the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), we have been providing an SMS query service for hydrological data for many years. Through this service, users can access hydrological data from around 170 automatic measuring stations located on Swiss rivers and lakes via SMS.

This service is particularly aimed at field personnel who do not have internet access. This includes employees of hydropower plants, experts from the federal and cantonal authorities, and, in critical flood situations, crisis management staff such as firefighters and civil defense personnel.

However, the SMS service can also be used for personal purposes. Users can, for example, be informed by text message when the Aare has reached a temperature they prefer or set an alarm when it is better not to go into the Aare because there is currently an above-average amount of water running off.

The SMS service provides three basic functions that allow access to temperature (T), water level (H) and discharge (Q) measurements at one of the monitoring stations:
A) One-time query of a measurement value
B) Daily notification of a defined measurement value
C) Notification when a specific threshold is reached

How to query hydrological data via SMS:
A) A) To query a measured value once, send an SMS to the number "237" the abbreviation of the measured parameter (T, H or Q) with the station number.
B) To query a measurement value daily, send an SMS to the number "237" with "START," the abbreviation of the measured parameter (T, H or Q), and the station number.
Example: If you want to inquire about the water level at the "Limmat: Baden, Limmatpromenade" measuring station, send the text "START H 2243" to the number 237. Additional feature: Choose the time (hh:mm) at which you want to be reminded daily. If the user wishes to be reminded at 4 PM, the text should be "START H 2243 16:00."

C) To receive an SMS alert when a defined measurement value is reached, send an SMS to the number "237" with "START," the abbreviation of the measured parameter (T, H or Q), the station number, "ALARM," and the defined threshold value (in °C, meters above sea level, or m³/s).
Example: If you want to be alerted at a discharge rate of 200 m³/s at the "Aare: Schönau Station" measuring station, send the text "START Q 2135 ALARM 200.0" to the number 237.

The number "237" doesn't work for you?
The short number 237 doesn't work with all providers. Alternatively, you can use the long number (+41 79 807 41 41), as it functions internationally. If you still have problems with the setup, please contact BAFU directly at the email address hydrologie@bafu.admin.ch.

Visit the BAFU website for more information, including a list of all station numbers with corresponding parameters and instructions on how to use the SMS service. Access current hydrological data.