About us

Environmental Impact Assessment Centre of Finland Ltd (EIA Ltd) is an independent research company founded in 1990 to apply state of the art mathematical surface water models and data tools for practical demands, and to maintain the validity of models with their continuous development and critical evaluation against field observations. Until 1990 EIA Ltd was part of the Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT). EIA models have been developed for watersheds, rivers, lakes, coastal and sea areas and atmosphere. They have been applied to 400 different locations round the world since 1974.


Typical surface water modelling application includes 3D-computation of water currents in existing coastal area or inland waters, taking into account such factors as dynamic wind and air temperature field, water temperature, salinity, and ice cover. Often the main focus of application is estimating transport and reaction of sediments, nutrients or other subtances within the water, giving possibilties to model such processes as transport of nutrients, transport of waste water, blue-green algae growth, cooling water spreading, and erosion and sediment accumulation. Target area sizes are from small lakes to the whole Baltic Sea.

EIA story started already in mid-70ies when Markku Virtanen was working at the Technical Research Center of Finland (VTT) and International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis. Virtanen developed computationally effective 2D flow and water quality model based and joined forces with the National Board of Waters and Environment and with Juha Sarkkula (now EIA Ltd IWRM advisor) for improving state of the Finnish lakes that were heavily loaded by pulp and paper industry. In addition consultancy work for infrastructure construction, mostly roads and bridges, started at that time.

Koponen and other modellers joined VTT in early 80ies. In 1990 Virtanen and Koponen founded EIA Ltd. At that time company profile had expanded to 3D water quality modelling, coastal applications and hydropower development. In the 90ies pioneering work for watershed management software for Finnish and Swedish authorities was realised (now RLGis), the distributed hydrological model was established (now IWRM-model) and applications were expanded to the whole Baltic Sea (e.g. operational oil and chemical combatting, national algal bloom forecasts, cost-effective measures for improving state of the Baltic, nuclear and conventional power plants). Geographically work expanded to the Mediterranean Sea for Integrated Coastal Zone Management.

Throughout the years many young professionals were trained by the EIA Ltd and contributed to its tools and approach. This activity reached apex during the early 21 century at the Mekong River Commission (MRC) when Helsinki University of Technology participated in FEI and EIA Ltd projects for fisheries, watershed management, sustainable hydropower development and impacts on socio-economic and environmental conditions. EIA ltd has continued expanding and promoting modelling for Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) supported by the World Bank, ADB, Finland Government and many local and international partners.

Demand for quantitative, integrated and high quality water resources consulting is increasing. It has become urgent to strengthen EIA’s capacity to respond to the situation. As a response, EIA is happy to notify that we have signed a partnership agreement with the Scandinavian consultancy company NIRAS. This alliance is further strengthened trough collaboration with LaoFin Consulting Company and with the Aalto University Water & Development Research Group in Finland.

In collaboration with its partners EIA will focus its undertakings on supporting sustainable development in the Mekong Region and providing practice and operations oriented modelling tools for academic, public and private sectors.

NIRAS is an international, foundation based (NIRAS Foundation) multidisciplinary consultancy company with over 1400 employees located in offices in Europe, Asia and Africa. Its business is to provide impartial consultancy in a variety of fields such as construction and infrastructure, public utilities, environmental and natural resources, climate change and energy, planning, and development consulting.