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Finland
A.NATIONAL COMMITTEE
1.

Ms. Helena Aijo
Secretary
Finnish National Committee on Irrigation and Drainage (FINCID)
Field Drainage Center
Simonkatu 12 A 11
00100 Helsinki

Tel : +358 9 694 2100
Fax : +358 9 694 2677
Email : helena.aijo@salaojayhdistys.fi
Website : http://www.fincid.fi

B.NATIONAL COMMITTEE PRESIDENT / CHAIRMAN
2.

Prof. Harri Koivusalo
Chairman
Finnish National Committee on Irrigation and Drainage (FINCID)
Professor, Water Resources Engineering
Aalto Cversity School of Science and Technology
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
P.O. Box 15200
FI-00076 Aalto

Tel : +358-50-5709864
Email : harri.koivusalo@tkk.fi

E.MEMBERS OF ICID COMMITTEES/WORKING GROUPS
3.

Ms Helena Aijo
For Address See S.No. 1 Above.

Email : helena.aijo@salaojayhdistys.fi

Member - WG-SDRG

4.

Mr. Olli-Matti Verta
Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry
P.O. Box 30
FIN-00023 Valtioneuvosto

Email : olli-matti.verta@ely-keskus.fi

Secretary - WG-CAFM, ERWG

5.

Ms. Seija Virtanen
Executive director
Finnish Drainage Foundation
Seija Virtanen
Laivurinkatu 39 A 7
00150 Helsinki

Tel : +358-50 405 9478
Email : seija.virtanen@tukisaatio.fi, seija.virtanen@helsinki.fi

Member - WG-ENV

6.

Mr. Mika Turunen
Sateentie 6 B 91, 02100 Espoo

Tel : +358 (0)50 353 2938
Email : mika.turunen@aalto.fi

Joint Editor - IYPeF

Directory Contents..

COUNTRY PROFILE - FINLAND


Finland is a countryin northern Europe famous for its scenic beauty. Thousands of lovely lakes dot Finland&&146;s landscape, and thick forests cover almost two-thirds of the land. The country has a long, deeply indented coast, marked by colourful red and gray granite rocks. Thousands of scenic islands lie offshore.

 

Sweden lies to the west of Finland, northern Norway to the north, and the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) to the east. The Gulf of Finland and the Gulf of Bothnia, two arms of the Baltic Sea, border Finland on the south and southwest. The northernmost part of the country lies inside the Arctic Circle in a region called the Land of the Midnight Sun. The sun shines in this region 24 hours a day for long periods each summer. Helsinki, the country&&146;s capital and largest city, is located in the south, on the Gulf of Finland.

 

Finland covers 338,145 square kilometres including 33,522 square kilometres of inland water. The country is largely a plateau broken by small hills and valleys and low ridges and hollows. The land rises gradually from south-southwest to north-northeast, but the average altitude is only about 120 to 180 metres above sea level. Mount Haltia, the country&&146;s highest point, stands 1,324 metres above sea level, in the far northwestern region of Finland. About 60,000 lakes are scattered throughout the country, and forests cover almost two-third of the land.

 

Land regions

 

Finland has four main land regions: (1) the Coastal Lowlands, (2) the Lake District, (3) the Upland District, and (4) the Coastal Islands.

 

The Coastal Lowlands lie along the Gulf of Bothnia and Gulf of Finland. Finland&&146;s coastline is 2,353 kilometres long. Many small lakes lie in the Coastal Lowlands. The region is less heavily forested and enjoys a milder climate than the Lake and Upland districts. The Coastal Lowlands also have some of the country&&146;s most fertile soil.

 

The Lake District occupies central Finland north and east of the Coastal Lowlands. The region has thousands of island-dotted lakes. The lakes cover about half the total area of the district. Narrow channels or short rivers connect many of the lakes. Saimaa, the largest lake in Finland, covers about 1,760 square kilometres in the southeastern part of the region. The Saimaa Lake System about 300 kilometres long, links several lakes in the area.

 

The Upland District is Finland&&146;s northernmost and least densely populated region. It covers about 40% of the country. The Upland District has a harsher climate and less fertile soil than the other regions have.

 

The Coastal Islands consist of thousands of islands in the Gulf of Bothnia and Gulf of Finland, a great majority of which are small and uninhabited. The thin, rocky soil on many of the islands cannot support much plant life, but many kinds of plants thrive on a few of the larger islands.

 

The most important islands are the Åland group having 1480 km2 land area out of about 6,500 islands off Finland&&146;s southwestern coast. People, almost all of whom speak Swedish, live on about 80 of these islands. The main island, Åland, is Finland&&146;s largest island covering 738 square kilometres and is an important tourist and shipping centre. Remains from the Stone, Bronze and Iron ages abound on Åland.

 

Most of Finland&&146;s people live in the southern part of the country, where the climate is mildest. Finns love the outdoors and the arts. They have a high standard of living and receive many welfare benefits from the government. Most of Finland&&146;s wealth comes from its huge forests. They form the basis of the country&&146;s thriving forest-products industry of woodworking and the manufacture of paper and pulp.

 

More than 90 % of Finland&&146;s people are Finish by descent, and most of the rest are Swedish. Most people in both groups are tall, with fair skin, blue or grey eyes, and blond or light brown hair.

 

Finland has a total population of about 5 million mostly living in the south, and about two-thirds in cities and towns. Helsinki, Finland&&146;s capital and largest city, has about 500,000 people, a fifth of the country&&146;s people live in Helsinki and suburbs. Finland has two other cities &&150; Tampere and Turku &&150; with more than 150,000 people living in each.

Finland&&146;s economy is based mostly on private ownership. The national government has a monopoly on certain businesses like the railway and postal systems. In forestry and some other industries, government-owned businesses compete with private companies.

 

Service industries account for 62% of Finland&&146;s gross domestic product (GDP). Manufacturing accounts for 24% of the GDP, while construction accounts for 8%. Agriculture, forestry, and fishing &&150; taken together &&150; account for 6%.

 

Climate

 

Finland has a much milder climate than most other regions of the world that lie as far north. In January, Helsinki&&146;s temperatures often average 14o to 18o C higher than the temperatures in parts of Canada at the same latitude. Finland&&146;s climate is highly influenced by the Gulf Stream warm ocean current that flows off Norway&&146;s west coast. Finland&&146;s many lakes an the gulfs of Bothnia and Finland provide a relatively mild climate.

 

The amount of precipitation (rain, melted snow, and other forms of moisture) varies between southern and northern Finland. The south receives about 70 centimetres a year, and the north only about 40 centimetres. August usually has the heaviest amount of rainfall.

 

Snow covers the ground in southern Finland from December to April, and northern Finland is snowbound from October to April. Most of the country is icebound in winter, but special icebreaking boats keep the major Finnish ports open so that passenger traffic and shipping can continue.

 

Natural Resources

 

Finland&&146;s greatest natural resource is its widespread forests, covering two-thirds of the land, a percentage higher than in any other European country. Other resources of Finland are limited, soil is poor with a short crop-growing season. The country has no deposits of oil, natural gas, or coal. Hydroelectric power plants produce a large proportion of the country&&146;s electricity supply. Finland&&146;s most important mineral is zinc although it also has important deposits of cobalt, copper, and iron.

 

Rivers

 

Finland&&146;s longest river is the Kemijoki, rising in the Upland District, near the border with the USSR, and flows southwestward for about 550 kilometres to the Gulf of Bothnia. The Kemijoki and its chief branch, the Ounasjoki, provide important logging routes and rich salmon catches.

 

The Muonio River begins about 100 kilometres southeast of the point where the Norwegian, Swedish, and Finnish borders meet. The river flows southward for about 180 kilometres, forming part of the border between Sweden and Finland. The Muonio River also provides a logging route. The Oulojoki rises in the northern part of the Lake District and empties into the Gulf of Bothnia, only about 130 kilometres long. But serves as an important logging route. Its 32-metre high Pyhä Falls provide power from a hydroelectric power station.

 

Agriculture

 

Most of Finland&&146;s farmland lies in the south and west. The farms are small, averaging about 12 hectares. The Finnish government owns less than 2% of the farmland.

 

Dairy farming and livestock production account for about 70% of Finland&&146;s farm income. Finland&&146;s farmers produce all the milk, eggs, and meat needed by the people. They also produce almost all the bread grains needed in Finland. Barley and oats are the main grain crops. Other crops include potatoes, sugar beet, and wheat.

 

Water Resources and Management of Agriculture

 

Most of the lakes are located in the central and eastern parts of southern Finland, which could be well described as the Finnish Lake District. In these areas the lakes serve as natural flood retention basins, and significant flood problems occur quite rarely. The west coast of the country is dominated by river basins with few lakes, where, in addition to the spring floods due to snowmelt, heavy rains may also cause serious flood damage during the growing season. The flood problems on the west coast are also partly due to the land uplift after the Ice Age, which is still continuing at a rate of about one metre per hundred years. In the north, Lapland has long rivers causing flooding during snowmelt. The situation becomes critical in years when the water equivalent of snow is high and there are heavy rains during snowmelt.

 

Owing to the Gulf Stream the average temperature in Finland is 4o C higher than in other parts of the world at the same latitudes. Thus the preconditions for agricultural production are not quite as unfavourable as might be deduced due to location only. It is possible to practice farming in almost all parts of the country, but in the north the conditions are severe. The growing season varies from 180 days on the south coast to 130 days in Lapland. In the north, the short growing season is partly compensated by the amount of daylight, as the sun hardly sets at all during the summer.

 

Only a limited number of arable crops, such as hay and potatoes, can be cultivated in Lapland. In the south, the range of possible crops is much wider, although the climate is not suited to large-scale, commercially significant production of maize. In the north, the land is covered by snow for about 7 months, and in the south for about 4 months a year. However, the cold winters also confer certain advantages, as they restrain plant diseases and growth of insects. Annual precipitation of 550-650 mm (average) per year, is mostly sufficient for cultivation. The weather conditions however are quite unfavourable for agriculture, as it rains more in the autumn than in the spring. Except for the southern parts, the agriculture has traditionally been dominated by livestock production, with milk production in particular being highly significant.

 

The past fifty years have brought a major structural change in agriculture, although efforts to balance as well as slow down the pace of change through agricultural policy measures have been made. The objectives, besides populating the country, maintaining self-sufficiency in food and securing food supplies in emergency situations has been kept. At the turn of the 1950s and 1960s the number of farms was at its height, at almost 300,000, with the average area of less than 10 ha, while the population engaged in agriculture was 600,000, and the agricultural contribution to GDP was more than 10%. According to the statistics for 1999, the number of active farms is now around 82,000, the average arable area is 25 ha, the number of people practising agriculture is 120,000, and the GDP share of agriculture is 1.2 %

 

An attempt was made to consolidate administration in 1970 by establishing the National Board of Waters and regional Water Districts under the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. However, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry still supervises the Regional Environment Centres and the Finnish Environment Institute looks into the use and management of water resources. In 1999, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry produced a new strategy for water resources management based on the principle of social, economic and ecological sustainability. The EU Water Framework Directive to be implemented in stages in the forthcoming years, will bring new challenges to the entire sector, including the need to revise national water and environmental legislation. Regional administration of waters is quite strong both in the information base and functional capacity.

 

Irrigation Drainage and Flood Control

 

After the Second World Water Finland had to resettle about 500,000 evacuees from the areas ceded to the Soviet Union. This resettlement together with the need to secure the food supply that was considerably weakened by the war, led to a rapid increase in land clearing and drainage. The peak was reached in the 1950s, when the area drained was almost 100,000 ha per year. With mechanization, subsurface drainage became the dominant drainage method in the 1960s, the area of land drained by this method rose to more than tenfold from the pre-war level of about 3,000 ha per year, and remained at this very high level until the 1980s. Since then the construction of subsurface drainage has considerably decreased and the current level is less than 10,000 ha per year.

 

In regions favourable to farming, the demand for basic drainage and subsurface drainage is still considerable and the systems for these need to be enhanced and maintained. Increased efforts are being made to restore to natural state of the water levels of shallow lakes lowered for drainage, alongwith efforts to improve the overall status of lakes by reducing eutrophication, increasing biodiversity and improving landscape value and opportunities for recreational use.

The role of irrigation is relatively insignificant in Finland, mainly used in the cultivation of vegetables, and in some places potatoes. There has however been some increase in research and development with the main emphasis on fertilization with controlled drainage in the cultivation of potatoes.

 

Flood protection in the north has improved considerably as a result of the construction of major hydroelectric power stations in the main watercourses from the 1940s until the 1960s and the associated construction of reservoirs and regulation of watercourses. Most flood control projects were completed in the 1990s, and as a result about 50,000 ha of arable land is no longer flooded.

 

The regulation of lakes and rivers mainly serves the needs of hydroelectric power production and flood protection, but needs linking to the multiple use and protection of the watercourses.

 

Finland and ICID

 

Finland&&146;s membership was approved at the 51st IEC Meeting of ICID held in Cape Town in 2000. Finland has joined ICID in 2001. Prof. Pertti Vakkilainen is the Chairman of Finnish National Committee (FINCID). Finland has adopted its constitution in April 2001. FINCID also got the honour of holding 10th International Drainage Workshop in the year 2008 jointly with ESTICID. FINCID is actively participated in ICID workbodies.

 


WATER RESOURCES MANAGEMENT AND AGRICULTURE IN FINLAND

Historical background

 

In 1999, Finland celebrated the 200th anniversary of the foundation of the Royal Waterways Board. When the Board was established Finland was part of the Kingdom of Sweden. The Board was appointed by King Gustavus IV of Sweden, who wanted it to begin by clearing the rapids of the Kokemäenjoki river to prevent floods and improve the conditions for waterborne traffic. After the war between Sweden and Russia in 1809 Finland was annexed to Russia as a Grand Duchy, with an autonomous position granted by Tsar Alexander I. Under Russian rule the Waterways Board operated as an imperial board. On Finnish independence in 1917, the work of the Board was continued by the National Board of Roads and Waterways in relation to transport and by the agricultural administration in the area of flood protection and drainage.

 

Special characteristics of Finland due to its northerly location

 

On the world map, Finland is a very northerly and sparsely populated country. Despite its location between the 60th and 70th parallels of latitude, the climate is relatively mild owing to the warming effect of the Gulf Stream and the Baltic Sea. In Helsinki the average annual temperature is +5oC, while at the Arctic Circle it is +1oC. The surface area of Finland is 338,145 km2, the population 5.3 million and the population density 16 inhabitants/km2. More than 40 per cent of people anywhere in the world living north of the 60th parallel live in Finland. Traditionally Finland has been known as a land of lakes, which is very true, as there are 56,000 lakes of more than 1 ha. Inland waters cover about 10 per cent of the country's surface. Over 80 per cent of these waters are of high or excellent quality.

 

Most of the lakes are located in the central and eastern parts of southern Finland, which could be well described as the Finnish Lake District. In these areas the lakes serve as natural flood retention basins, which means that significant flood problems occur quite rarely. The west coast of the country is dominated by river basins with few lakes, where, in addition to the spring floods due to snowmelt, heavy rains may also cause serious flood damage during the growing season. The flood problems on the west coast are also partly due to the land uplift after the Ice Age, which is still continuing at a rate of about one metre per hundred years. In the north, Lapland is dominated by long rivers with flooding during snowmelt. The situation may be critical in years when the water equivalent of snow is high and there are heavy rains during snowmelt.

 

Finland - the world's northernmost country with a viable agriculture

 

Owing to the Gulf Stream the average temperature in Finland is 4oC higher than at the same latitudes in other parts of the world. Thus the preconditions for agricultural production are not quite as unfavourable as might be deduced based on the location only. It is possible to practice farming in almost all parts of the country, but in the north the conditions are obviously quite severe. The growing season varies from 180 days on the south coast to 130 days in Lapland. In the north, the short growing season is partly compensated by the amount of daylight, as the sun hardly sets at all during the summer.

 

Only a limited number of arable crops, such as hay and potatoes, can be cultivated in Lapland. In the south, the range of possible crops is much wider, but even there the climate is not suited to large-scale, commercially significant production of maize, for example. In the north, the land is covered by snow for about 7 months, and in the south for about 4 months a year. However, the cold winters also confer certain advantages, as they restrain plant diseases and the population growth of insects. Annual precipitation, on average 550-650 mm per year, is mostly sufficient for cultivation. However, the weather conditions are quite unfavourable for agriculture, as it rains more in the autumn than in the spring. Annual variations in the length of the growing season and the level of precipitation make it very difficult for farmers to decide which arable crops to grow. Except for the southern parts of the country, Finnish agriculture has traditionally been dominated by livestock production, with milk production in particular being highly significant. Reindeer husbandry is practised as an indigenous occupation in Lapland.

 

Developing the structure of agriculture

 

In the past fifty years, Finnish agriculture has undergone major structural change, which is still continuing, although efforts have been made to balance as well as slow down the pace of change through agricultural policy measures. The primary objectives in Finnish agricultural policy have been related to social policy rather than to agriculture as an industry. The objectives have included, among other things, keeping all parts of the country populated and balancing regional development, maintaining self-sufficiency in food and securing food supplies in emergency situations. At the turn of the 1950s and 1960s the number of farms was at its height, at almost 300,000, the average area of farms was less than 10 ha, the population engaged in agriculture was 600,000, and the agricultural contribution to GDP was more than 10 per cent. According to the statistics for 1999, the number of active farms is now around 82,000, the average arable area is 25 ha, the number of people practising agriculture is 120,000, and the GDP share of agriculture is 1.2 per cent.

 

Finland's membership of the European Union from the beginning of 1995 has had a significant impact on the country's agricultural policy. Since accession to the EU, agricultural output has been quite close to the self-sufficiency level. Current development prospects would suggest it should be possible to continue agricultural production at about the same level in the future, too. The number of active farms is nevertheless expected to fall further, to about 60,000 in the next few years. Since EU membership, rural development has received more and more emphasis, owing to the new opportunities provided by the Common Agricultural Policy and the EU's structural funds. One important objective is to generate new entrepreneurial activity, such as rural tourism, which will simultaneously improve the viability of farms.

 

Flood protection in Finland

 

For climatic and geographical reasons the problems caused by floods are much less severe in Finland than in Central and Western Europe. However, floods in the large river basins in the north and on the west coast where there are very few lakes used to cause serious damage every year. Flood protection in the north improved considerably as a result of the construction of major hydroelectric power stations in the main watercourses from the 1940s until the 1960s and the associated construction of reservoirs and regulation of watercourses. Since then, the main emphasis in flood protection has been on implementing flood protection projects in the rivers on the west coast and developing operational flow regulation and flood defence. Most flood control projects were completed in the 1990s, and as a result about 50,000 ha of arable land is no longer flooded. Present flood protection projects are relatively small and directed mainly at reducing flood damage in inhabited areas.

 

There is an obvious need for further development of flood protection, even though the most significant water construction projects have already been completed. A survey of major floods conducted in 2000 mapped out the most endangered areas and the potential damage to these in order to prepare for extremely infrequent flood events (HQ 1/250). Based on these results, further attention should be directed at e.g. the development of operational flood prevention. The plans of action for flood prevention in large watercourses based on modern flood forecast modelling have in recent years also fundamentally improved preparedness for flood prevention.

 

The regulation of lakes and rivers mainly serves the needs of hydroelectric power production and flood protection, but needs relating to the multiple use and protection of the watercourses have invariably been taken into account in the projects. However, changes in needs and values mean that many of the 200 or more water regulation projects implemented in Finland need to be reassessed and updated. Special attention should be directed at e.g. fisheries, biodiversity and recreational use of watercourses, without neglecting the original purposes of the projects.

 

Drainage and irrigation

 

After the Second World War Finland had to resettle altogether about 500,000 evacuees from the areas ceded to the Soviet Union. This resettlement together with the need to secure the food supply, which had been considerably weakened by the war, led to a rapid increase in land clearing and drainage. The peak was reached towards the end of the 1950s, when the area drained was almost 100,000 ha per year. With mechanization, subsurface drainage became the dominant drainage method in the 1960s, when the area of land drained by this method had risen more than tenfold from the pre-war level of about 3,000 ha per year, and remained at this very high level until the 1980s. Since then the construction of subsurface drainage has decreased considerably, and the current level is less than 10,000 ha per year.

 

The structural change in Finnish agriculture is also reflected in the area of drainage. In regions favourable to farming, the demand for basic drainage and subsurface drainage is still considerable and the systems for these need to be enhanced and maintained. On the other hand, increased efforts are being made to restore to their natural state the water levels of shallow lakes lowered for drainage, together with other efforts to improve the overall status of these lakes by reducing eutrophication, increasing their biodiversity and improving their landscape value and the opportunities for recreational use. The new EU directive establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water policy will put further emphasis on maintaining and improving the ecological quality of surface waters.

 

The role of irrigation is relatively insignificant in Finland, and in practice it is mainly used in the cultivation of vegetables, and in some places potatoes. However, there has been some increase in recent years in research and development on irrigation, with the main emphasis on irrigation fertilization in special farming and combining irrigation with controlled drainage in the cultivation of potatoes. A survey of present and expected need for using water resources for irrigation is currently being conducted by the Finnish Environment Institute and the Regional Environment Centre of South-West Finland.

 

Administration of water issues

 

Owing to the importance of water issues in Finland, there is a long tradition of state administration in this sector. In 1970 an attempt was made to consolidate administration by establishing the National Board of Waters and regional Water Districts under the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. Since then these bodies have evolved into the present-day environmental administration under the Ministry of the Environment, whose field of administration covers all environmental protection issues. However, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry still supervises the Regional Environment Centres and the Finnish Environment Institute in duties relating to the use and management of water resources. In 1999, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry produced a new strategy for water resources management.

 

Prospects

 

The European Union's Agenda 2000 provides a framework for the development of agriculture in Finland and the other Member States of the EU. In preparing for Agenda 2000 Finland's main concern was to secure the preconditions for farming despite the country's unfavourable climatic conditions. In order for farms to survive, their activities have to be viable. Attention needs to be directed to the development of productivity and, in particular, the quality of production and output, and also to purity, which is becoming an increasingly important competitive factor. Agriculture has to be environmentally friendly, taking environmental considerations and protection into account in all it does. During the Finnish Presidency of the EU, the Helsinki Summit in December 1999 saw the approval of an environmental strategy for agriculture which established the guidelines for integrating environmental considerations and sustainable development into the Common Agricultural Policy. The strategy is based on the European model of agriculture, with particular emphasis on its central elements, i.e. family farming, multifunctional agriculture and sustainable competitiveness of agricultural production.

 

The management of water resources is based on the principle of social, economic and ecological sustainability. An extensive evaluation of environmental and other impacts is required for all major projects influencing watercourses or water resources, and more and more attention will be devoted to the quality of work in this area. This concerns watercourse planning as well as use of watercourses and safety requirements for related structures. There is also a need to further enhance transparency and interaction in water issues. The EU Water Framework Directive, which will be implemented in stages in the forthcoming years, will bring new challenges to the entire sector, including the need to revise national water and environmental legislation. In Finland, regional administration of waters is quite strong in terms of both the information base and functional capacity, and thus Finland is quite confident of successfully implementing the directive.

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