Huge differences in Finland’s tapwater prices: study

Finland Proper pays the most for its glass of water. (AFP)
Finland Proper pays the most for its glass of water. (AFP)
The prices of Finnish tapwater may vary from 2.6 euros per cubic metre of water to as much as 17 euros depending on where you live, a report by the Finnish Water Utilities Association shows.

Water is cheap in Finland – or extremely expensive, depending on where one lives. A new report on water rates by the Finnish Water Utilities Association shows that the prices of household tapwater vary wildly from one water company to the next. At worst, the differences are many times more expensive.

“Long water networks in sparsely populated areas bring big spikes in cost,” says Mika Rontu from the association. “Rocky terrain and other geographical causes can also affect prices. A third factor is the owner’s revenue recognition or so-called hidden taxation.”

Kempele, Oulu cheapest

Due to the differences between the structuring of various water management fees, the Water Utilities Association uses a reference price. This includes the effects of the usage charge, basic charge, gauge rent and connection fee on the price of water and sewage. The combined reference price of water and sewerage gives a better idea of the real price of one cubic metre of water.

According to the report Finns in Kempele near Oulu use the cheapest water, with a reference price of 2.64 euros per cubic metre. That’s for apartments – the cheapest single family dwelling pricing is provided by the Aluelämpö company in Salla, Lapland just in front of Kempele.

Utö island most expensive

Those paying the most for their running water are the single family dwellers on the island of Utö in the Archipelago Sea. People there pay five to six times the Kempele reference price – as much as 16.81 euros per cubic metre. The vast gap has a natural explanation.

“In Utö the household water is prepared by filtering seawater,” says Rontu. “There are very few customers and the island is rocky.”

It is in western Finland that the priciest runners-up are found, too: in Parainen, Raisio and Kimitoön. Apartment prices sear the sky in the municipality of Parikkala, at 7.29 euros a cubic metre.

Large cities under mean price

The report also shows that the two opposite ends of the price spectrum are found in small regions. Large populations centres such as the Capital Region, Tampere and Turku, however, are well under the mean price range.

In terms of single houses, Turku applies the mean while Tampere and Helsinki charge much less for water.

The prices of more than 200 water suppliers – that handles 70-80 percent of Finland’s water – were used for the report.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Addressing northern food insecurity, Blog by Heather Exner-Pirot

Finland: Cleaning up litter has expensive price tag in Finland, Yle News

Greenland:  Greenland – barrels of oil and bottles of water, Blog by Mia Bennett

Sweden: Swedes pay more than neighbors for mobile broadband, Radio Sweden

United States: Run on bottled water in Emmonak, Alaska, after supply interruption, Alaska Dispatch News

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