The National Water Services Days 2022:
conversation from security of supply to cybersecurity - and everything in between

The Water Services Days, organised by the Finnish Water Utilities Association, is a traditional event in the water industry. The two day event is a place for water supply operators to come together to discuss relevant matters and listen to expert lectures on current topics. This year the event was held in Botnia hall, Vaasa, May 11-12, 2022. During these two days, Mipro's representatives met with customers and partners and attended the lectures on current topics such as crisis resilience, cyber security, water supply cooperation, asset management, carbon neutrality and circular economy. In this blog, we will highlight a few interesting speeches and talk about how Mipro’s solutions can address many of the issues that were raised at Water Services Days.

Crisis resilience of water supply

The crisis resilience of water supply is an issue that has been much talked about in the industry as well as in the media recently. Veli-Pekka Vuorilehto, Chairman of the Water Services Pool, gave an interesting speech on the crisis resilience of the Finnish water supply.

The Water Services Pool is an expert group formed by representatives of the Finnish National Emergency Supply Agency, the Association of Finnish Municipalities and the Finnish Water Utilities Association, which aims to support water supply companies' preparedness for both normal and exceptional conditions. In his lecture, Vuorilehto highlighted the success of the water supply industry in implementing the rapid changes required by the corona pandemic.

Despite the success of the COVID-19 era, the sector's crisis preparedness still needs to be developed, especially with regard to more modern threats. Although traditionally in the water sector, the quarter is said to be 25 years, now changes should be implemented quickly as the operating environment is undergoing rapid change. Vuorilehto sees it as likely that some means of hybrid influence will be used for our critical infrastructure; risk management has become more important and its requirements level has risen. Although the degrees of maturity in waterworks differ in terms of, among other things, cyber security, responsibility and structural reliability, the requirements set for them are the same. This requires the support of partners in systematic contingency planning.

Ensuring cyber security

Issues raised in the ongoing Finland’s National Water Reform Programme, such as digitalisation and information management, also require active cyber security. In the current global context, it is the responsibility of every organisation in the water sector to ensure that critical infrastructure is operational. Traficom's Mikko Viitanen presented the Cyber Security Centre's services, which are aimed especially at supporting the cyber security of state administration and security-critical organisations. Viitanen also highlighted services related to exercise activities, such as finding a suitable partner and a snapshot service that is used to plan the exercise. In the cyber exercise, they act as observers and assist in its follow-up analysis. The first joint cyber exercise was tentatively agreed with one of our customers right after this presentation. More information about the Cyber Security Centre's free services: https://www.kyberturvallisuuskeskus.fi/fi/palvelumme/harjoitustoiminta.

Water supply tasks in the Southern Savonia region

From the beginning of 2022, the Southern Savonia ELY Centre took over the responsibilities for water supply tasks for all Finland. Jyrki Lammila, Head of the Water Supply Services Unit, spoke on this change, the state of water supply reform and regional water supply strategies. The main tasks of the unit are the supervision of the Water Services Act as well as regional planning, expert tasks, stakeholder work and general lobbying.

The aim of the National Water Reform Programme is to ensure safe and high-quality water supply for all customers of water supply facilities and to promote energy and resource efficiency in water supply. The next phase of the reform is the completion of the implementation plan in summer 2022. The plan consists of eight sets of measures: development of regional cooperation, development of asset management, investment planning, development of digitalisation capacity, promotion of the circular economy and changes in national legislation. Finland is divided into three regions, for which a working group consisting of experts from the ELY Center will implement a regional action program by 2030. Comprehensive water supply strategies for western Finland and eastern-southern Finland were drawn up during 2020-2021. In the future, northern Finland will join these strategies.

Picture: Vision 2050, Southern Savonia strategy map. Southern Savonia ELY Center, Jyrki Lammila ©

Water supply cooperation

In addition to the above, interesting speeches were heard on, among other things, the need for cooperation in water supply and restructuring. According to Antti Ryynänen from Sweco, restructuring is necessary especially for small water plants, as the regional development goals envisioned in 2005 have not been achieved. Ramboll's Jyri Rautiainen and Tuula Töyrylä also continued on the same topic.

The identified needs in the water supply sector nationwide are securing the operating conditions, extensive cooperation between actors and increasing the attractiveness of the sector. Regional co-operation increases the operational reliability of the critical sector and secures the future of significant infrastructure assets, in addition to which it also has positive effects on the development and safeguarding of know-how and on the region's business life.

Picture: Mipro's representatives in Water Services Days 2022. In the picture from left to right, Lauri Nykänen, Timo Kakko, Eveliina Naumanen and Marko Kaasalainen.

Overall, this year’s Water Services Days was really comprehensive event. It was great to get to meet customers and partners again after without a such a long time of face-to-face contact. Thank you to everyone who visited our booth - we look forward to continuing the discussions and scheduled appointments. We will continue supporting our customers in the change of water supply.


Author

Eveliina Naumanen

Development Engineer

Eveliina has worked at Mipro for almost 6 years on various water utility projects and life cycle work. The areas of responsibility have been diverse sales tasks, and currently she takes part in responsibility and sustainability tasks at Mipro's Water and Energy business and works as part of Mipro's environmental group. Monitoring the implementation of the Water Reform and informing Mipro about the changes it brings are also part of the current task.

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