Where is expertise in water management needed?

Water is not a separate element – it is an integral part of all types of geological conditions and environments.

Clean water is usually taken for granted in Finland. There is plenty of water everywhere and more and more pours down, like many of us have witnessed by looking out the window. However, we know that global water resources are threatened by various challenges, such as global warming, urbanisation and expanding industries.
Clean and available groundwater resources are also fairly decentralised and partly limited in Finland, not to mention the sufficiency of clean water on a global scale. What is more, the availability of clean water and global changes are affected by human activities that increase environmental loads.

How can we respond to the major global questions? What kind of expertise and scientific research do we need to respond to these questions? What kind of methodology and equipment do we need? What kinds of solutions can we produce?
Not exactly simple questions, and most certainly not simple answers.

When I started working at GTK last October, I first had the opportunity to review our new strategic goals and our views of how GTK can respond to global challenges in water management. The goals set for water management were divided into two main objectives: 4D groundwater and responses to challenges related to global changes. I thought that these were ambitious and respectable, and continued to study more.

I learned that the 4D groundwater goal means stages where, taking time parameters into account, we examine the mechanisms and processes of the hydrological cycle. During the first stage, we gather more and more data, research references, methods and skills that allow us to provide national and international services. One excellent reference is the Kurikka groundwater formation, where we can combine the important water supply project of the towns of Vaasa and Kurikka with high-quality research conducted in international cooperation. This is where societal needs and scientific research meet high-quality 4D data and its interpretation and management.

In the field of mining, we are, for example, preparing a modelling concept for mining water. We will already carry out the data collection and preliminary modelling stages this year with our partners.

Responding to challenges related to global changes and producing solutions mean that we provide our expertise as a service. Examples include our ongoing project in Vietnam, where we strengthen the abilities of the local population to produce studies and reports related to artificial groundwater recharge. This is one way in which GTK can export Finnish expertise around the world. Comprehensive water solutions are also largely linked to geoenergy, the disposal of nuclear waste and water management in urban and industrial environments.

Water is not a separate element – it is an integral part of all types of geological conditions and environments. Questions related to water call for extensive cooperation. This is what makes my work particularly interesting. We have an obligation and an opportunity to work together with all our specialists and partners. Let’s take steps towards solutions – together!

Eeva Käpyaho, head of unit, Water Management Solutions