Freshwater - Outlook 2020 (Finland)
Water protection targets for 2015
In November 2006, the Finnish Government approved a new set of national Water Protection Policy Outlines to 2015 in a decision-in-principle that also defines measures needed to improve water quality.
Aiming to achieve good water quality by 2015
The new outlines define needs and objectives for the period until 2015, aiming:
· to reduce the nutrient loads that cause eutrophication
· to reduce the risks caused by hazardous substances
· to protect groundwater bodies
· to protect aquatic biodiversity
· to restore ecologically damaged water bodies
The decision-in-principle particularly stresses the need to combat eutrophication, which is the most serious ecological problem facing Finland's inland waters and the Baltic Sea today. Nutrient releases must be considerably reduced from their present levels in order to restore the natural ecological balance to water bodies.
The key objective in the decision-in-principle is that nutrient loads entering water bodies from agriculture should be reduced by a third by 2015 compared to their levels over the period 2001-2005, and halved over a longer timescale.
Municipal wastewater treatment must be further improved wherever wastewater is released into water bodies that are suffering from eutrophication. Nitrogen removal rates must be improved to ensure that at least 70 % of all nitrogen is removed in treatment plants dealing with wastewater from areas with more than 10 000 inhabitants.
 Available in Finnish and Swedish: http://www.ymparisto.fi/download.asp?contentid=66351&lan=fi