Waterways in the Valais/Switzerland


B1/ B2 English

Watch the video here below and try to answer the following questions:


-In which region would farming be impossible without the water from glaziers and high mountain springs?

-Why was the wooden acqueduct or  bisse built?

– How much did it cost to renovate 7 km of waterway?

– What did the local people, who originally built it, risk?

– Why is it important to preserve these water channels?

– Where did the builders of the bisse sleep after their working days?

– In which position did the masons work?

– How many kilometres is the bisse service along the cliff faces in the Valais?

Look at the vocabulary and translate them into your language:

rain starved
glaciers
mountain springs
mason
to release
sluice gates
to dangle from the cliff face
climbing harness
dwindling water supply
of utmost importance


The following exercise is about the conditional/mixed. Combine the two parts of the sentences.

Il the local people (1)……….. (2)……., the bisse (1)…… (2)… needed.
If there (1)….. no water from the springs, they (1)…….(2)….. been repaired.
Without the waterways it (1)….. (2)…… conducted to the valley.
If the Canton (1)…….rain starved farming (1) …..(2)…. impossible.
If the locals (1) …….. (2)……. the channels, the masons (1)…..(2)…. had to work dangling.
If they (1) ……. 2)….. the bisse farming (1)…….. (2) ….. impossible.
If there (1)……enough water humidity (1)……. (2)….. kept.
If it (1)…… of utmost importance families, they (1)…..(2)…done the job.
If the locals (1)….(2) …..help from their the bisse(1)……(2)… repaired.
If they (1)….(2)….their lives, the waterways (1)………exist.

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