2022 Winners

Water Canada celebrated the winners of the 2022 Water’s Next Awards on June 2, 2022 as part of the 13th annual Canadian Water Summit. Hosted by Actual Media’s Content Director Corinne Lynds, the presentation of the 2022 Water’s Next Awards recognized individuals, projects, and technologies that have made significant contributions to the water industry in Canada and beyond. The winners of the 2021 Water’s Next Awards are:

Category—People: Academic Leader

Markus Brinkmann

Dr. Brinkmann is an Assistant Professor at the University of Saskatchewan’s School of Environment and Sustainability, the Toxicology Centre, and the Global Institute for Water Security. An Aquatic Toxicologist by training, his research focusses on contaminants in the water cycle, with an emphasis on urban runoff and wastewater and their impacts on aquatic organisms, specifically fish. He is an expert in using molecular tools to diagnose the status of the environment, including biodiversity and the presence or absence of endangered or invasive species. The same tools are also useful for monitoring wastewater for traces of infectious diseases, such as COVID.

Category—Operator

Ian Mcilwham

Ian Mcilwham is Class IV Wastewater Operator who has worked in the water/wastewater sector for 30 years and is currently the Compliance Manager for Durham Region. His passion is working with Operators without Borders having participated in utility resilience building in Belize and Barbados, training of lab staff for Dominica and developing SOPs for emergency events in Caribbean Water Authorities. The next great challenge is aiding in re-establishing water and wastewater services as a member of the Water Quality Technical Working Group in Ukraine. No matter where my career has taken me it has always centered around being an operator.

Category—Business Leader

Pat Whalen

Pat Whalen got the entrepreneurial itch at the age of four, when he began joining his father on consulting engineering business trips, to junior high school where he made his allowance as the office janitor, to working as a laboratory technician in high school, to finally in becoming an engineer himself, Pat followed an accelerated track. Decades later, LuminUltra is an international leader in comprehensive biosafety monitoring for environments, industries and individuals. While it started as a small family business, Pat now leads LuminUltra’s operations across six countries serving customers in over 100 countries from its head office in Fredericton.

Category—Government Leader

Abhay Tadwalker

Abhay has undertaken many innovative projects in some of the largest water and wastewater plants in Canada while reducing the operating costs and improving energy efficiencies. Internationally, Abhay has volunteered for many water and wastewater projects in countries like Romania, Honduras and Colombia.

Category—Non-Government Leader

Lindsay Day

Lindsay Day is Program Manager of DataStream, an open access platform for sharing water data. Lindsay works with communities, governments, researchers and other collaborators to continually grow and improve DataStream, which has a mission to promote knowledge sharing and advance collaborative water stewardship. DataStream is carried out in collaboration with regional monitoring networks in four hub regions — the Mackenzie Basin, the Lake Winnipeg Basin, Atlantic Canada, and the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence region. DataStream currently contains over 18 million open data points collected by over 200 water monitoring groups.

Category—Young Professional

Gregary Ford

Gregary’s passion is to connect people to water. Through his work on the Great Lakes and beyond, Gregary has learned that water is a part of all of our stories. He has also learned that it’s that personal connection that fuels one of great strengths in protecting our water: Community Science. When we are connected to that water, we care about it. So, Gregary uses communications technology, water monitoring, outreach and education to engage communities in becoming stewards of their water. Gregary can be found at home on the water, sharing his story.

Category—Wastewater

York Region Machine Learning Project for Managing Inflow and Infiltration (I&I)

Severe rainfall events are occurring more frequently due to climate change. This contributes to excessive Inflow and Infiltration (I&I) entering the wastewater systems, which consumes sewer capacity and overloads treatment systems. The Region has been collecting real-time flow and rainfall data through its I&I monitoring program since 2013, covering about 90% of the systems within the Region. Leveraging this decade-long data, York Region developed a machine learning model to locate areas highly responsive to I&I and forecast system’s response to rainfall. The model will optimize analysis processes, support operational needs and minimize severe, costly impacts to residents and the environment.

Category—Stormwater

Bear St Redevelopment Project

The Bear Street Reconstruction project created a pedestrian-priority street in the heart of the Town of Banff. Running parallel to Banff Avenue, Bear Street is home to a mix of visitor and local-oriented services alike. The $9.5 million reconstruction transformed the street into a pedestrian-friendly space where people can partake in the local amenities, or relax and take in the mountains. The overarching design concept of Bear Street prioritizes a people-centric shared space, encourages active modes of transportation and increases pedestrian amenity space while still enabling vehicle access, while maintaining the very distinct cultural character of this unique community.

Category—Drinking Water

Halifax Water

Launched in March of 2021, the Get the Lead Out program is the first of its kind in Canada to have a goal of removing all lead service lines by 2038. The program replaces full lead service lines from the water main to the meter at the utility’s expense.  Due to shared ownership and responsibility for service lines between the homeowner and the utility, earlier approaches, including rebates, loans and simplification of the construction process, have fallen short.  Halifax Water’s Get the Lead Out program allows the integrated water utility to take control of the timeline and process, enabling a proactive approach that actively seeks out service lines to replace when the opportunity is optimal while still taking into consideration the public health risk, cost, and ease of replacement.

Category—Education and Outreach

Water Movement

Water Movement fills a void in an often-fragmented industry and bridges the connection between Indigenous water operators whose work is vital to the health and well-being of countless communities. Through the joint efforts of industry professionals and university students, it provides a collaborative online space where operators can connect, share lessons learned and access training videos that act as educational tools. In addition to providing resources and an interactive collaboration zone for those in the industry. Water Movement also seeks to raise awareness among the next generation of water leaders. The free program connects with youth through virtual workshops for students of all ages. It’s designed to educate kids about water in Canada, careers in engineering and the water sector.

Category—Early Adoption

York Region Wastewater Surveillance team

The Wastewater Surveillance Project in York Region was initiated early in the pandemic by Public Health and Public Works to understand the COVID-19 viral signal in wastewater and help public health monitor and manage COVID-19.

York Region provided samples to the University of Waterloo to develop a method to test for COVID-19 in wastewater, used existing infrastructure to measure trends of COVID-19 in our communities, and inform data-driven decision making. It resulted in science, processes, data and partnerships that produced reliable information, allowing for additional rapid and cost-effective tracking of disease trends in the population independent of clinical testing.

 

Category—Water Resources

City of Guelph and AECOM Canada Ltd.

The goal of the WSMP Update is to support the 2003 Council direction “that the focus of the Water Supply Master Plan establishes a sustainable water supply to regulate future growth”. The WSMP Update includes reviewing our current water supply sources and identifying priorities for a sustainable municipal water supply from now until 2051 to satisfy the Places to Grow Population forecasts.

The proposed implementation strategy must deliver, through to 2051, an adequate amount of water in a safe and cost-effective manner while ensuring that environmental sustainability is not compromised. The WSMP is updated approximately every 5 years.

 

Project of the Year

Bear St Redevelopment Project

The Bear Street Reconstruction project created a pedestrian-priority street in the heart of the Town of Banff. Running parallel to Banff Avenue, Bear Street is home to a mix of visitor and local-oriented services alike. The $9.5 million reconstruction transformed the street into a pedestrian-friendly space where people can partake in the local amenities, or relax and take in the mountains. The overarching design concept of Bear Street prioritizes a people-centric shared space, encourages active modes of transportation and increases pedestrian amenity space while still enabling vehicle access, while maintaining the very distinct cultural character of this unique community.

Water Steward of the Year

Markus Brinkmann

Dr. Brinkmann is an Assistant Professor at the University of Saskatchewan’s School of Environment and Sustainability, the Toxicology Centre, and the Global Institute for Water Security. An Aquatic Toxicologist by training, his research focusses on contaminants in the water cycle, with an emphasis on urban runoff and wastewater and their impacts on aquatic organisms, specifically fish. He is an expert in using molecular tools to diagnose the status of the environment, including biodiversity and the presence or absence of endangered or invasive species. The same tools are also useful for monitoring wastewater for traces of infectious diseases, such as COVID.