The people of Zurich swim in their rivers. My friend M. said:
In Switzerland there are lots of swimming places on rivers...Nobody cares about diseases here. Some are just places to jump in, some are more similar to what you proposed (like the one in Schaffhausen, where there is quite some flow), many are more like swimming pools but with natural water:My wife used to live in Switzerland, and she noted:
- There was typically a rope that spanned the river downstream. People could hang out in the water while hanging onto the rope. It was easy to grab so you wouldn't be carried away by the current.
- The width of areas where you could swim were not very large.
There is a movement dedicated to Europeans reclaiming their rivers called Big Jump. On one day per year, everyone jumps into their local river to call attention to how important protecting our rivers are, and to have fun. Of course they recommend the water quality be measured before jumping in. The next Big Jump is July 12, 2015.
Specifically Big Jump calls attention to the Water Framework Directive, implemented by the EU. Paraphrased by Big Jump, it states:
The primary environmental objective of the WFD is that all freshwater bodies reach the status of "good condition" by 2015, which corresponds to being as close as possible to undisturbed, natural waters.Unfortunately that goal is far from being achieved. Which means we need to continue fighting for clean water, because really, we shouldn't be concerned for our kids' lives when they swim in nature.
This is a big issue. There is a documentary in German called "Flussversönung" about how activists, architects, and politicians are trying to clean up the Spree in Berlin.
I was wondering about why an architect was interested in a river, and then I realized, if the water in the Spree were swimmable, its banks would be a much more attractive place to live. It is the same with the Elbe.
Who's interested in jumping? If the water is clean enough, I'm tossing my kids in. And yes, jumping in after them.