Clean water

Good water quality is a prerequisite for several ecosystem services. Clean water is needed especially for human consumption (drinking water), but the quality of water matters also in household, irrigation and process use. Furthermore, good water quality is important  for fish and crayfish populations and makes recreation in and along watercourses more desirable.

Water is acquired both from ground and surface sources. The functioning of terrestrial ecosystems plays a key role in securing clean water. Therefore clean water acts as a bridging ecosystem service between terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.

In crude terms, rain water is either filtered through soils to underground aquifers or flows as surface runoff to ponds and streams and then, eventually, as channel runoff to the Baltic Sea.  Many land use changes affect ecosystem's ability to store and filter water. In Finland, some of the most important land use forms affecting water quality are agriculture, forestry and human settlements.

In 2013, the ecological state of rivers and lakes was primarily good or high. However, there were more lakes which condition declined rather than improved between 2008–2013. The worst ecological quality can be found in southwestern Finland where agriculture is more intense and releases nitrogen and phosphorus into water courses.  

Groundwater areas are abundant in Finland and generally they are in good quality. Currently there are ca. 3 800 groundwater areas that have been evaluated as suitable for water supply. Approximately 5.4 million m3 of ground water is generated daily. Groundwater areas close to human activities are more likely decline in quality. Good quality groundwater areas are typically near eskers where water is filtrated through coarse-grained and porous soils.

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