2021 Winners

2021 Water’s Next Award Winners

Water Canada celebrated the winners of the 2021 Water’s Next Awards on June 10, 2021 as part of the 12th annual Canadian Water Summit.

Hosted by Actual Media’s Content Director Corinne Lynds, the presentation of the 2021 Water’s Next Awards recognized individuals, projects, and technologies that have made significant contributions to the water industry in Canada and beyond.

“We received many impressive nominations this year,” said Simran Chattha, chair of the 2021 Water’s Next Awards. “Congratulations to all of the winners! They have all shown a strong commitment to improving and building upon the work that has been done in the Canadian water industry.”

Water Canada received 70 submissions for the 2021 Water’s Next Awards. As part of the judging process, the Selection Committee identified 38 finalists and 15 award winners.

The winners of the 2021 Water’s Next Awards are:

Category—People: Academic Leader

Banu Örmeci—Professor, Wastewater Treatment Engineering, Carleton University

Banu is the Jarislowsky Chair in Water and Global Health, Canada Research Professor in Wastewater Treatment Engineering, and the Director of the Global Water Institute at Carleton University. She leads an internationally recognized research program on wastewater and biosolids treatment. Her research generated several patents and new technologies on real-time monitoring of water and wastewater. Her research program is also directly related to the protection of public health and the environment and aims to offer solutions to not only global problems but also to specific issues faced in Canada.

Category—People: Business Leader

Ben Kerr—CEO, Foundry Spatial

Ben has cultivated and led a team of scientists and creators who are changing how governments, water users, and conservationists engage with water-focused science and data to achieve sustainable outcomes. A professional agrologist, Ben has more than 20 years of experience working on initiatives from local to continental scales. This experience enabled him to recognize an unmet need for scientifically derived and defensible water information, delivered in a clear and understandable format.

Category—People: Government Leader

Indra Maharjan—Director, Ontario Clean Water Agency (OCWA)

Indra is the director of innovation, technology, and alternative delivery at the Ontario Clean Water Agency (OCWA). In this role, he builds strategic partnerships to develop and deliver innovative projects through alternative delivery models. He also fosters innovative solutions in the water and wastewater sector by working with technology providers and municipalities. In addition to this, Indra helps transform existing water treatment plants and wastewater treatment plants into net zero resource recovery facilities through co-digestion, waste diversion, clean fuel generation, and alternative delivery models.

Category—People: Non-Government Leader

Amy Weston—Manager, Habitat Programs, Nova Scotia Salmon Association

For the past two decades, Amy has led this group’s flagship Adopt-a-Stream Program, which supports community-based and First Nations organizations in aquatic habitat restoration and stewardship. Under her direction, the program has expanded to provide support for detailed watershed planning, and aquatic habitat and fish passage assessment and remediation. It has become a centre of expertise in this field, providing training for field staff and volunteers across the province and serving as a catalyst for collaboration among stakeholders, rights-holders, governments, and other organizations.

Category—People: Water Operator

Warren Brown—Operations Manager, Lytton First Nation

As the operations manager for his community of Lytton First Nation, Warren is directly responsible for providing safe drinking water to residents. Seeing himself as more a mentor than a leader, Warren can often be found working alongside his operations team as an equal. Overseeing the care of 13 drinking water systems, community wastewater, and road maintenance only scratches the surface of his formal role. Regardless of this workload Warren never hesitates to assist community members with home repairs and maintenance, and often carves time out of his day to give educational tours of his facilities to students and interested residents. Going even further, Warren recently developed a summer program to develop practical maintenance skills for youth participants.

Category—People: Young Professional

Wai Ying Lam—PhD Candidate, Environmental Science, University of Toronto

Wai’s research focuses on the hydrological impacts of forest harvesting on mercury in headwater streams. She is dedicated to science communication and has shared her master’s research on road salt in the Three Minute Thesis competition and her PhD research on mercury at Soapbox Science. She was also an early member of the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority’s Youth Council and has played a significant role in its development.

Category—Projects and Technology: Conveyance

Bracelet Probe—PICA Corp.

PICA’s Bracelet Probe can be used to perform condition assessments of pipelines to help avoid failures by identifying and verifying defects before they become an issue. This Canadian technology was used by the San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA) to conduct an inspection of the full four-mile-(six-km-) long line. The tools were inserted into the pipe using 20-inch (508-mm) diameter manhole access ports. Within two weeks of completing the inspection of the full pipe, PICA provided a Bracelet Probe inspection report to SDCWA, which included results for the scanned portion of the pipeline with precise locations of areas of concern, noting clock position, percent wall loss and distance from the starting point. This level of detail helps to correlate areas of concern to construction features and accurately identify where repairs need to occur.

Category—Projects and Technology: Drinking Water

Intuitive Water Systems

Intuitive’s H2OnAlert is a software platform that monitors commercial drinking water systems in businesses. H2OnAlert software platform was developed by Intuitive Water Systems to ensure drinking water systems are running efficiently, safely, accurately, and in accordance with the water needs of a business. If any issues with the drinking water system occurs, a notification is sent to the client or service technician that the system needs to be serviced.

Category—Projects and Technology: Early Adoption

ENWIN Utilities Ltd.

ENWIN maintains a contract of service with Windsor Utilities Commission (WUC) to operate and maintain the WUC owned water system that serves customers in Windsor, Tecumseh, and LaSalle. Like many municipal utilities performing backflow safety, ENWIN was experiencing issues related to the manual entry of backflow test results. The company developed a new application that used its existing GIS mapping to create a new process to improve accuracy, reduce errors and offer easy maintenance of accurate, permanent records for each test and test location undertaken. ENWIN estimated that the program now saves approximately $50,000 annually in data entry and error correction for WUC and ENWIN. The program was tested in late 2019, and fully implemented starting at the beginning of 2020. It is anticipated that other Ontario utilities will adopt this program for use in their backflow testing operations, and it has potential for application in any utility.

Category—Projects and Technology: Education and Outreach

Let’s Talk About Water

Let’s Talk About Water (LTAW) is dedicated to discussing the future of our planet’s water, and why we should all care. LTAW is a growing platform for discussing water science in a way that’s accessible to all by taking the research out of the ivory tower and shares it through its international film festivals, podcasts, social media, international forums, and international and student film prizes. It is the only global platform that combines social media, podcasts, film festivals, film prizes, global forums, and international workshops to bridge the gap in water science communication. LTAW’s audience’s breadth and depth—from young students in elementary school, to international academics, to global industry leaders—demonstrates the power of this approach.

Category—Projects and Technology: Stormwater

Collaborative Stormwater Management Initiative

The Collaborative Stormwater Management Initiative (CSMI) is an innovative and collaborative approach for regional protection against the impacts of severe weather in southern Alberta. The CSMI system is designed to reduce localized flooding through collecting, storing and moving stormwater more effectively throughout the region. Stormwater will be kept out of the WID irrigation canals as it is conveyed through the CSMI system, which will preserve high quality irrigation water in the WID canals. The project is a partnership between the Western Irrigation District (WID), the City of Calgary, Rocky View County, and the Town of Strathmore. All three municipal Councils and the WID Board approved the project in November 2020. An established governance structure was solidified through several legal agreements and legal incorporation of the Cooperative in December 2020, marking a major milestone for this project that has been over a decade in development.

Category—Projects and Technology: Wastewater

LuminUltra

LuminUltra is a biotechnology leader with more than 25 years experience in the water space developing rapid, portable, and accurate microbial monitoring solutions. Its range of technologies include second Generation ATP, automated ATP and qPCR, are the first line of defense against microbial challenges. Headquartered in Canada with operations in six countries, the company is widely recognized as a leader in developing tests and reagents for environmental, industrial, and diagnostic monitoring. The company was a key supplier of COVID-19 clinical testing reagents to the Government of Canada.

Category—Projects and Technology: Water Resources

Foundry Spatial Water

The Foundry Spatial Water Framework provides fundamental web-oriented structures such as maps, data visualization, navigation, reporting, and database for communicating information about water supply and demand in watersheds and aquifers. By taking massive volumes of real-time and historic environmental monitoring data, specialized hydrology models and analytical routines, the framework delivers easy to digest insight at whatever location a user is interested in. With a critical focus on optimizing the user experience, the framework implementations provide accurate, reliable, and relevant information for their specific location of interest. In a matter of minutes, users can retrieve knowledge that would otherwise require costly consultants to be engaged for weeks or months to produce. The Foundry Spatial Water Framework is currently available across more than 80 per cent of B.C. and 40 per cent of Alberta. Implementations are being developed in California and other parts of the United States.

Category—Steward of the Year

Warren Brown—Lytton First Nation

As the operations manager for his community of Lytton First Nation, Warren is directly responsible for providing safe drinking water to residents. Seeing himself as more a mentor than a leader, Warren can often be found working alongside his operations team as an equal. Overseeing the care of 13 drinking water systems, community wastewater, and road maintenance only scratches the surface of his formal role. Regardless of this workload Warren never hesitates to assist community members with home repairs and maintenance, and often carves time out of his day to give educational tours of his facilities to students and interested residents. Going even further, Warren recently developed a summer program to develop practical maintenance skills for youth participants.

Category—Company of the Year

Lumin Ultra

LuminUltra is a biotechnology leader with more than 25 years experience in the water space developing rapid, portable, and accurate microbial monitoring solutions. Its range of technologies include second Generation ATP, automated ATP and qPCR, are the first line of defense against microbial challenges. Headquartered in Canada with operations in six countries, the company is widely recognized as a leader in developing tests and reagents for environmental, industrial, and diagnostic monitoring. The company was a key supplier of COVID-19 clinical testing reagents to the Government of Canada.