Water Power (Hydropower)

The Lokka and Porttipahta reservoirs covered large reindeer pasture areas under them in 1967 and 1970. The reindeer used to using these areas simply left. For years after, they were searched and taken back home from distances of hundreds of kilometres. Reindeer also swam to the floating peat and they were drowned. The reservoirs changed the environment, culture and social structure of the area in an irreversible way. Direct financial losses were significant and the compensations were never taken care of appropriately. During the decades, local livelihoods have been forced to adjust to the situation, but building these reservoirs left permanent scars to the people’s lives.

Despite the past experiences where reservoirs have destroyed local areas, there are repetitive discussions about Kollaja and Kemihaara (former Vuotos) reservoirs. They both are located to the reindeer husbandry area. Both reservoirs would have permanent, extensive and significant effects environmental effects. Building Kollaja reservoir would require opening the Rapids Protection Act 35/1987. Also, Kemihaara reservoir would cover a large amount of Natura areas.

Kollaja is located to Pudasjärvi municipality and the Kollaja reindeer herding cooperative area. Kemihaara reservoir would be located to the Pelkosenniemi municipality and Hirvasniemi reindeer herding cooperative area.

The areas that would be loss if the reservoirs are build are important for the reindeer herding. The reservoirs would cover summer pasture and calving areas, and disturb the natural grazing cycles. Hirvasniemi cooperative would have to be divided into two different parts and organise the whole herding again. Loosing pasture areas would cause difficulties for herding work and there would not be enough food for all reindeer anymore. Hence, the amount of reindeer would have to be cut. The reservoirs would also influence neighbouring reindeer herding cooperatives.

Building reservoirs has multiple negative impacts on reindeer herding and it causes financial losses for the livelihoods. These issues cannot be ignored. Reindeer husbandry is against both of the Kollaja and Kemihaara reservoirs. Both of the planned reservoirs are against the current legislation.


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