The well master

Johannes Studer

Johannes Studer kontrolliert die Sotsass-Quelle. Bild: Dominik Täuber.
According to the official list, there are 112 wells in Scuol alone. Water from mineral springs flows from some of them. Together with Johannes Studer we were allowed to immerse ourselves for once – not in the water of the wells – but in the history of the well master of Scuol.

By Sarah Hofer

From Basel to the Lower Engadin

Johannes grew up in Basel, which is still evident today. As a child, he was often on holiday in the Lower Engadin and has therefore always had a connection to the region. Ever since he had a family, he dreamed of living in the Engadin. A few years ago, this dream came true and Johannes moved into his grandfather's former house in Sur En near Sent. The trained carpenter completed his training as a well master in 2011 and has been responsible for the water supply of the municipality of Scuol with his team since 2018.

Mineral water directly from the village well 

More than 20 mineral water springs bubble up in and around Scuol. The water from these springs can be tasted at various fountains in the village. «You don't see much of the water supply on the outside – you see fountains, hydrants and you notice when there is no more water coming out of the tap». This is precisely why special attention is paid to the maintenance of the wells. «The village wells are our business cards, so to speak», Johannes tells us. His favourite mineral water is from the Sotsass spring, which he regularly fills up – not because of any special effect, but simply because it tastes best to him. He also often fetches water from the Lischana spring, which he particularly recommends because of its high magnesium content.

Johannes Studer im Dorfbrunnen «Plaz» in Scuol. Bild: Dominik Täuber.

From the history of spa tourism

As early as 100 years ago, guests from all over the world travelled to the spa towns of Scuol, Tarasp and Vulpera because of the abundance of water, and there was a flourishing cure and bath tourism. In 1369, the mineral springs around Scuol were mentioned in a document for the first time, and in 2019 the 650th anniversary of mineral water was celebrated. Even today, mineral water plays an important role throughout the Lower Engadin. Bathing in the mineral bathhouse Bogn Engiadina , walking along the Inn past the historic drinking hall «Büvetta Tarasp» or tasting mineral water at the fountain – mineral water can be experienced in numerous ways.

The work as a well master

The topic of water supply is a very comprehensive one. The basic system is similar everywhere, but each system has its own peculiarities. «In flatter regions, drinking water is often obtained from groundwater or pumped from the lake. In the case of lake water, the water has to be processed into drinking water in several complex steps. Here in the mountains, we obtain water from springs whose catchment area is often above settlements. This means that the water does not usually have to be treated and bubbles out of the tap untreated and refreshingly cool to drink. In the municipality of Scuol, the water is only disinfected at individual points using UV light.»

Johannes and his team ensure, among other things, that the drinking water regulations are complied with, carry out inspection tours, take drinking water samples, advise on the subject of water connections for conversions and new buildings, look after the water supply of the Alps, maintain irrigation systems and are responsible for various maintenance and cleaning work on the many water supply systems. 

Der Brunnenmeister Johannes Studer bei seiner Arbeit im Trinkwasserreservoir Ftan. Bild: Dominik Täuber.

Johannes and his team will continue to give their all to ensure that we can continue to enjoy this valuable asset in many ways in the future.

Text: Sarah Hofer
Pictures: Dominik Täuber

In keeping with the theme

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Die Mineralquelle Bonifacius am Inn im Unterengadin.
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Bei der Dorfführung in Scuol. Bild: Dominik Täuber.
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Büvetta Tarasp - the former drinking hall.
Büvetta Tarasp