Plans by the Zurich cantonal government to allow the partial privatisation of water utilities and to give private land owners a greater say in river and lakeshore use have failed to win voters’ approval.
Official results show 54.6% of voters in canton Zurich defying recommendations by the main centre-right parties and the business community.
The political left, supported by environmental groups, had challenged a decision by the cantonal parliament last year that allowed for private citizen involvement in maintaining the water supply. Challengers warned that the law was paving the way for multinationals to commercialise the use of drinking water.
Opponents also argued that the amended law would undermine nature protection and limit public access to lake shores.
The campaign ahead of Sunday’s ballot was marked by controversy between the canton’s political parties, which are gearing up for next month’s parliamentary elections in canton Zurich.
Dog training courses stay
Zurich voters on Sunday also voted to maintain mandatory dog handling courses for owners of “large and massive dogs”.
Nearly 70% of voters rejected a parliamentary proposal that would have scrapped the current regulation.
Zurich parliament had wanted to lift the course requirement in line with national legislation, but a group of parliamentarians from the left and the right as well as the cantonal government want to keep the rules.
Zurich has among the toughest regulations on dog ownership in Switzerland. They were tightened following a tragic incident in 2005 when pit bulls bit to death a toddler in a village outside of Zurich.