The sustainable management and utilisation of stormwater, the availability of clean raw water, the prevention of environmental contamination, and the renovation of old water pipeline and sewerage networks are some of the challenges that Sitowise’s Water Services experts solve in their work.

The importance of water management is not always properly understood in Finland, which has tens of thousands of lakes and a well-run water pipeline network. Sitowise’s water services experts are doing everything they can to change this state of affairs by disseminating information and raising awareness of water management.

“In an urban environment, in particular, we have to start thinking about water in an entirely new way. We must integrate water into all design,” emphasises Nora Sillanpää, DSc. (Tech.), who started out as Service Manager in the stormwater team of Sitowise’s Water Services.

Stormwater must be utilised

Due to recurring urban floods, the problems stormwater causes in densely built-up urban environments have been in the headlines. We cannot avoid them, even in Finland – climate change will lead not only to more rain, but also to torrential downpours.

The problem is exacerbated by the way we currently design and build our cities. Nora Sillanpää says that this approach is unsustainable from the perspective of water.

“Paved, compact urban areas are energy-efficient – but catastrophic for the water cycle. A dense urban structure can increase the volume of runoff during a single rain event by a factor of many tens. Our approach to construction has greater impacts on the natural water cycle than climate change in itself.

In addition, we currently do not treat our stormwater to any significant extent, even though rain and stormwater in practice wash our cities –  when they flow into streams and waterways, they carry all the pollutants with them. “If we go on like this, we’ll keep spoiling our local environment,” says Nora Sillanpää.

Fortunately, this situation can be changed – if we build pleasant urban environments, with plenty of green surfaces and a water cycle that mimics nature, we can prevent urban flooding and environmental pollution.

Nora Sillanpää says that stormwater should be recycled, like building materials or wastes. Stormwater is a neglected resource.

“Stormwater could have interesting uses in the urban landscape. It would be even better if we used stormwater instead of potable water to water plants, wash cars and in water-intensive business operations.”

Nora Sillanpää, Senior Adviser, Sitowise

Developing stormwater services is a particularly important mission for Nora Sillanpää. “I want to be the pioneer in this field at Sitowise.”

Effective water supply and sewerage is vital

“Clean water is critical for human survival – and we would fare poorly without proper wastewater treatment. Effective water supply and sewerage is essential for our society and its development,” says Pertti Leppänen, MSc. (Tech.), who started out as the Group Manager of the Water Engineering Group in May.

As the Group Manager, Pertti Leppänen works on plans and studies for water supply and sewerage network modernisations and new investments. “In addition to network design, Sitowise has unique expertise in the comprehensive planning of water supply and sewerage tunnel modernisations. It’s been great to be involved in these projects.”

In the years and decades ahead, many Finnish cities and municipalities will be busy with bringing their water supply and sewerage up to date. They are thinking about the best ways of implementing the network modernisations while also building new connections for new residential areas. Sitowise has prepared itself for the future challenges of customers by making a concerted effort to deepen and expand its expertise in water services. Sitowise has made outlays on personnel training and has also recruited plenty of new specialists in these past couple of years. Water Services has grown into an organisation with more than 30 people.