WATER SUPPLY AND SEWAGE SERVICES IN NEED OF A STRUCTURAL UPDATE
Even though generally speaking the water, waste and energy services in Finland are in good condition and they function reliably, the related risks are increasing. In order to ensure the operational quality of small water supply and sewerage facilities in particular, a structural change is required to gather up the functions which are regionally dispersed but still belong to the same set of services to create larger administrative units. This way the quality of water supply and sewerage services and the economic resources and expertise required by the investments and reconstruction can be ensured. It is necessary for the planning and timing of the reconstruction and development of services to get the knowledge base concerning the systems operational and openly available.
The infrastructural system is comprised of water, waste and energy services, as well as data communications. Their combined value is approximately 23 billion euros, of which electric and district heating networks constitute the largest share.
The networks, as well as hardware and other structures belonging to the systems, are owned, operated and used by a very large group of public and private entities varying from the state to ordinary citizens. Water, waste and energy services also differ greatly from each other in terms of their operating and market conditions, due to which they are in different development stages for the part of their service level, technical condition and administrative models. What all of these highly invisible systems have in common, is, however, that their uninterrupted operation is crucial for the smooth operation of the whole society.
The deterioration of the water, waste and energy networks and facilities continues, even though it has not yet been critically reflected in their operational reliability. The modernization of the sector and utilization of new technology has begun, but there is still much unused potential and need for development. In future, the most urgent development tasks will be the implementation of structural reform for water supply and sewage services and increasing recycling rates. Overall, the grade remains the same, as no notable improvement or decline has occurred in the sector during the observation period.