Water services and groundwater

The property owner is responsible for water services and sewerage relating to the property, i.e. that there is a sufficient supply of clean water for household use and the treatment of wastewater has been organised in a way that causes no environmental pollution or harm to the health.

Municipalities must take action to organise water services if required to meet the needs of a relatively large number of residents or due to health or environmental protection reasons. Municipalities are also responsible for developing water services and sewerage in their territories in accordance with the development of communities.

Water utilities as service providers see to water abstraction, supply of water for household use, and wastewater sewerage and purification. The water main networks of water utilities cover more than 90% and wastewater sewer networks about 85% of Finnish households. In sparsely populated areas the access to water for household use is often based on private wells. Of the water supplied by water utilities 65% is groundwater or artificial groundwater.

The risks involved in water services and sewerage must be managed from water abstraction through the user’s tap all the way to waters where wastewater is discharged. Water utilities must be aware of any risks relating to the quantity or quality of the raw water they use and the condition of their equipment. Water supply may be interrupted, for example, due to broken pipes or power cuts caused by storms.

The legislation on water services and sewerage is the responsibility of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. The Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment supervise the compliance with the Water Services Act and support the development of water services and sewerage under the guidance of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.