Water is in Finland’s DNA.

Finland is one of the water-richest countries in the world, and water is critical for our economy and wellbeing. Finland’s water resources management works smoothly, with different actors working together and making use of cutting-edge technology. We provide affordable, high-quality drinking water and sanitation services for everyone. We also take care of our nature, and maintain the balance between the needs of people and the environment.

Success story of Finnish Water

Finland has developed it’s water expertise since 1950’s, when it was still a developing country recovering from the losses of war. Rapidly growing industries and communities were polluting the shallow lakes and rivers in an alarming rate. Finland decided to take care of precious resources and started to act. New Water Act was established in 1962 and Wastewater Fee Act in 1974.

Proactive strategy included effective legislation, sound institutional arrangements and broad application of research and technology. Not only government took the initiative, but also civil society and industries contributed to the development. Water protection associations brought water users and polluters together to jointly monitor and restore polluted waterbodies.

Even lakes declared as ”hopeless” were restored to their natural condition. Water supply and sanitation coverage were rapidly increased with the support of public, private and people (civil society) partnerships.

Picture: Construction works of Vanhakaupunki WTP in 1895, (c) Helsingin kaupunginmuseo

Finnish Water Sector today

Water is safe. 99,99 % of supplied water exceeds the criteria set for drinking water. Holistic approach to safety ensures that all contamination risks are considered and mitigated – from the lake to the tap, and back.

Water is clean. Anyone can swim and fish in the 187 888 lakes in Finland, from which over 85 % is in good or excellent condition. Effective legislation, latest technologies and professional operation ensure that wastewater collection, treatment and discharge have minimal impact on environment and people.

Water is affordable. Water supply and wastewater treatment are operated with full cost recovery enabled by sufficient customer fees. Yet, annual cost is about 2 % of a typical household’s income. This is possible with high level of automation, optimization and energy savings throughout the process.

Finland in statistics

Finnish Water Way is a multi-stakeholder approach towards sustainable water management. We have exceptionally good cross-sectoral collaboration on water issues. One example of this is a national interministerial working group that discusses and coordinates Finland’s international activities on water. In addition, Finnish Water Forum brings together actors in both public and private sectors. Through Finnish Water Way, we can offer innovative tools for water-based solutions with our partners to ensure a water-secure world by 2030.

International Water Strategy of Finland

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