Finnish Water Safety Model

In Finland, safe quality of drinking water is assured by a comprehensive approach on all risks related to the water supply chain – from the raw water source to tap, and back.

Water utilities in Finland face challenges familiar to many other countries:

Contamination of groundwater resources. Although 92 % of aquifers in Finland are in good or excellent condition, there’s a need to be cautious of activities taking place within the watershed.
Ageing of distribution network. Most of the distribution network in Finland has been constructed between 1940 and 1960. Renovation works and special attention are needed to ensure safety in the water distribution phase.
Network operation and maintenance. Importance of effective network operation and maintenance is becoming more and more relevant. New tools are developed all the time to understand, measure, model and minimize leakages and energy use in the network.

Finnish Water Safety Model

To tackle these threats for water safety, a national online platform was developed with the lead of the Ministry of Health. Finnish Water Safety Model follows the logic and steps of the Water Safety Plan manual of World Health Organization (WHO). However, Finnish model extends even further. Also Sanitation Safety Plan, usually issued separately, is developed within the same platform. This way, the whole water cycle – from source to tap and tap to source – can be managed at a glance.

More than 200 water utilities use the software in Finland to document and analyze water safety throughout the production process. Each step of the process, their related risks and their significance are analyzed individually. Once the whole process has been analyzed, most urgent risks and required actions are automatically compiled into an action plan.

Both Water Safety Plan and Sanitation Safety Plan are developed in the same platform. Selected data can be directly delivered from the utilities to regional authorities for supervision of the utility performance. Different user types, e.g. utility personnel, regional authorities and national authorities, have therefore own dashboards and access to different types of data.

Benefits of the model

– Ensured safety of drinking water and sanitation throughout the process
– Easy identification of urgent risks and required actions
– Efficient prioritization of investments and tasks
– Unified reporting for national and regional authorities
– Benchmarking of development between different utilities and regions

Contact FWF office to learn more about Water Safety in Finland.