Water supply and sewerage are fundamental, but often underappreciated, to the well-being of modern society. Clean water runs from our taps and dirty water flows away down our drains. Often the existence of water and waste water works is only noticed when problems occur. These include water scarcity, which is a growing problem in many countries including those of the EU, and pollution caused by the discharge of waste water into the environment. There is, therefore, a need for better information and education about both water-saving and water disposal.
Borealis, through its Water for the World programme actively seeks to raise awareness of the water challenge in local communities. In Finland Borealis, together with WANDER Nordic Water and Materials Institute and the Finnish Water and Waste Water Works Association, has launched a ‘virtual’ Water School – a web-based learning environment directed to schoolchildren.
Finland is well-served with both surface water and groundwater resources. Approximately 10% of Finland’s surface area is covered by water, accounted for by 187,888 lakes and ponds larger than 500 m2 , and by rivers with a total combined length of 25,000 km. Groundwater is found in virtually every part of the country and makes up around 60% of the supply distributed by Finland’s water utilities.
Nevertheless, despite this abundance of water, informed, intelligent usage is essential to its sustained, safe and economic exploitation. Therefore, creating greater awareness of water and waste water issues has an important role to play in shaping society’s water-use behaviour. To help raise the level of awareness, Borealis, together with WANDER Nordic Water and Materials Institute and the Finnish Water and Waste Water Works Association, has developed a virtual Water School.
Water School aims to facilitate children’s understanding of how they themselves can affect the condition of the environment and to show them how they can contribute to more efficient water use through some simple changes in their behavior. Ultimately, it is hoped, this will lead to their adoption of ecological values they will carry with them throughout their lives.