Planning and co-operation in river basin districts

The Act on Water Resources Management (1299/2004), the Decree on River Basin Districts (1303/2004), the Decree on Water Resources Management (1040/2006) and the Decree on Hazardous and Harmful Substance on Aquatic Environment (1022/2006) implement the EU Water Framework Directive at national level. The Environmental Protection Act and the Water Act have both been amended as necessary.

Finland´s high standards of water protection are based on the legislation in the Environmental Protection Act and the Water Act, as well as strict permit procedures according to which environmental and water permits are required even for small projects and production facilities. Permit procedures involve thorough assessments of the environmental impacts of specific operations, and the consequent setting of tailored controls. These permit procedures help to ensure that the objectives of the Water Framework Directive are achieved. Permits are granted only after the due consideration of factors related to the use of water and impacts on the status of waters covered by the relevant river basin management plan.

Lakes, rivers, groundwater reserves and the Baltic Sea have been carefully monitored in Finland for decades. Surface waters have so far been classified using a system that assesses their suitability for use by humans, but these categories are to be adapted to give more emphasis to ecological considerations such as the habitat requirements of aquatic plants and animals.

River basin management plans have now been systematically made for all of Finland´s river basins. River basin management planning systems are based on co-operation between the authorities, stakeholder groups and citizens, as defined in the new national legislation.

Finland´s eight river basin districts

Five river basin districts have been delineated in mainland Finland, while two international river basin districts have also been designated covering parts of Finland,one of which is shared with Norway, and the other with Sweden. The Government of Åland is responsible for the river basin district that covers the autonomous Åland Islands province.

Water users actively involved in planning

River basin management planning procedures have been designed to promote transparency, participation and dialogue. Planning processes are led by the centres for economic development, transport and the environment, and organised through joint working groups whose members also include invited representatives of the main national and local authorities, organisations, landowners and business interests responsible for the use, protection and state of water bodies.

Published 2013-09-15 at 2:43, updated 2020-11-05 at 13:41