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Near future of Finnish water supply: no more drinkable water 24/7/365?

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Water industry is concerned about the future of higher education of water field of study in Finland. At the moment, the water field of study is mainly studied in the studies of energy and environmental techniques, and the scope of studies and emphases vary greatly between different universities.

Most of the courses, which handle water issues, are optional, and courses like new innovations of energy sector, circular economy, environmental design and management compete from the students.

However, most of the present workers of water industry will retire in the near future. How can water industry renew and attract young students to study our crucial and basic need, clean water?

Water technique is a unique field, because good operation of a water plant is a combination of knowing and understanding chemistry, process technique, mechanical engineering, and environmental and construction fields. For instance, flotation can be used to remove harmful subjects from the water, but what if the flotation does not work as it was supposed to? To optimize the process, one must understand the reasons why everything did not go as planned, and when needed, one must know how to apply, and understand the consequences.

The plants get old, and they have to be extended, renovated, and renewed, so that they can respond to the new and constantly tightening requirements. One must understand how builders work, what kind of world is the world of construction, and what kinds of contracts are made in the construction field. Building and construction require broad know-how in addition to engineering, and one must know about leading the worksites, designing, and acquisition, too.

None of the schools prepare the students fully to working life, and one learns in working life, too.

However, to my mind, all responsibility should not be carried by the companies. Universities, companies, and water industry could collaborate more, so that the water supply would remain secure also in the future. Water industry is broad, and in my opinion, one could easily study it for six years, and not just optional courses.

Matti Leppäniemi

The writer is the managing director of Econet group.


Further information for the media:

Matti Leppäniemi, Econet Ltd., tel.+358(0)405533001, matti.leppaniemi(a)econetgroup.fi

Econet Group is a water and environment technology service company. The Group includes Econet Ltd, Dewaco Ltd and Oy Slamex Ab. Helsinki-based Econet designs and offers solutions for clean water and environment globally. Laitila-based Dewaco, in turn, is specialised in sludge thickening, dewatering and sludge removal. Lahti-based Slamex designs and manufactures equipment for treatment of water and wastewater. The Group’s turnover amounts to about EUR 22 million.

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