2023 Water Canada Awards Winners
Water Canada celebrated the winners of the 2023 Water Canada Awards on June 8, 2023 as part of the 14th annual Water Canada Summit. Hosted by Actual Media’s Content Director Corinne Lynds, the presentation of the 2023 Water Canada Awards recognized individuals, projects, and technologies that have made significant contributions to the water industry in Canada and beyond.
The winners of the 2023 Water Canada Awards are:
Category - Projects: Stormwater
The Grindstone Creek Watershed Natural Asset Management Project
As a cross-jurisdictional collaboration, the Grindstone Creek Project is the first of its kind in Ontario. Partners (NAI, Conservation Halton, Cities of Hamilton and Burlington, Royal Botanical Gardens and the Greenbelt Foundation) sought to address flood risk through improved, shared watershed governance and restoration of natural assets. Recommendations established priority areas for restoration work, future data collection, and responsibilities of each partner to contribute to shared efforts. NAI and partners are now working on watershed financing models to innovate funding streams for restoration work. The project represents a new way forward in addressing climate change through cost-effective solutions for municipal planning. Nature doesn’t follow boundary lines; this provides an approach for collaboration across a range of organizations to pursue watershed scale conservation. To properly protect and restore key watersheds, communities need to find partners upstream.
Category - Projects: Drinking Water
Iqaluit Water Crisis, WSP
In October 2021, the City of Iqaluit declared a state of emergency upon discovering fuel-like products in the treated water system. This resulted in a Do Not Consume advisory being issued to over 8,500 residents. Due to the remote location of Iqaluit, one of the main challenges was the one-full-week between sampling and receiving results. Critical decisions were made on old data, and the City could not inform the public of water quality “today”. WSP was immediately flow to the City to assist with identifying the source of the contamination and implementing immediate response measures. During the investigation, a massive, sub-surface cavity beneath the WTP was discovered with an abandoned 60-year-old fuel storage tank, and evidence that the fuel contents of the tank had been discharged across the entire cavity. Within one week, the WSP Team discovered the complex pathway the contamination took to enter the system and quickly and severed it. As part of the ongoing efforts to restore consumer confidence, WSP installed and calibrated a novel spectrophotometer to detect petroleum hydrocarbons in real-time. This allowed the City to monitor the reduction in petroleum hydrocarbons in the system and properly inform consumers of up-to-date water quality.
Category - Projects: Wastewater
Bench Brewing Co., Econse
Econse’s innovative wastewater recycling system for Bench Brewing Co. is a game-changer in the sustainability and water conservation landscape. The system is the first of its kind, and enables the Brewery to recycle 100% of their wastewater for irrigating hops and orchards. This ensures that no wastewater is released into local waterways and reduces the strain on the environment. The brewery is located in the Niagara region, an area that is particularly sensitive to water conservation. Econse’s system is a fraction of the size and cost of traditional biological treatment systems, making it an affordable and accessible solution for water-intensive industries. The system was initially installed in 2019 and will be upgraded in 2023 to accommodate the doubling of production without any major infrastructure changes, keeping within the same footprint. Econse’s technology highlights the importance of sustainable wastewater management and the crucial role it plays in water conservation.
Category - Projects: Downstream
Water First creates programming to ensure sustainable access to safe, clean drinking water in Indigenous communities in Canada. Programs include locally based technical training, paid internships, and K-12 hands-on STEM workshops that foster a love of education and water science.
Category - Projects: Conservation
Connected Sensors accelerates the transition to sustainable buildings through smart water technology systems. These systems address water consumption and waste to aid property managers in their water conservation strategies. This is accomplished using various IoT sensors along with a powerful platform designed for commercial and industrial facilities. With real-time monitoring and alerts of a building’s water infrastructure, companies can better understand consumption trends, leaks, and irregular usage. As a result, they can quickly identify and remediate water waste and proactively prevent water loss and damage. For example, York Property Management hired Connected Sensors to monitor the city water meters amongst several multi-family residential sites. Connected Sensors’ system provided real-time insight into the building’s water consumption data and identified multiple toilet leaks that would have otherwise gone unnoticed. As a result, daily water consumption was reduced by 71%.
Category - Projects: Policy
Atlantic First Nations Water Authority (AFNWA)
The Atlantic First Nations Water Authority have forever changed water utility policy in canada by successfully campaigning for and securing their place as the first ever in Canada First Nations owned and operated water utility. Their goal is to ensure safe water delivery and wastewater distribution to communities while applying traditional First Nations knowledge and culture, including environmental stewardship, including the spiritual aspects of water and Two-eyed Seeing.
Category - Projects: Education
Groupe d’éducation et d’écosurveillance de l’eau (G3E)
Le Groupe d’éducation et d’écosurveillance de l’eau (G3E) bring people to monitor and protect water to make an impact. G3E’s education work ranges from citizen science programs to school initiatives and scientific water monitoring tools. The J’adopte un cours d’eau (Adopt a River) program enables youth to protect their rivers and asses freshwater health. With 60,000 participants monitoring 269 rivers since 2000, the program has had a tremendous impact. Led by Nathalie Piedboeuf, G3E punches well above their weight, running programs throughout Quebec as well as in PEI, New Brunswick, and Manitoba. G3E are community builders. Last year, G3E worked with collaborators to organize the Forum de science participative sur l’eau, the first gathering of participatory science leaders in Quebec, bringing together community groups, First Nations, researchers, and governments. The Forum was a testament to G3E’s leadership within the water community. Their impact deserves to be recognized.
Category - Technology: New Tech
There are thousands of PFAS contaminated sites in Canada and the United States. We find them in very high concentration at military bases, airports, landfills, water and wastewater treatment plants, and industrial facilities. These high concentration streams are very hard and costly to treat. This is where ALTRA’s newest technology comes in. It took years of in-house research and development by our scientists and engineers to discover an innovative balance for treating contaminated water. In the last two years, large scale pilots in continuous mode have exceeded expectations. This breakthrough technology is now field-proven and ready for large-scale use. ALTRA’s field-proven solution is poised to revolutionize the treatment of PFAS in water, both long and short chain. It is highly effective when treating sources heavily contaminated with PFAS, at a fraction of the cost and risk of traditional methods that rely primarily on adsorption media (activated carbon or ion exchange resins).
Category - People: Emerging Leader
Farokh is an incredible emerging leader in the water sector. Energetic and driven, she has overcome hardships and biases to push forward in the water sector. Farokh leaves lasting impressions on those she meets—even though she is incredibly busy and in-demand, she manages to make time for everyone. She is currently a founder and chair of the IWA Young Professional Program, an environmental engineer with Brown and Caldwell. See links for more amazing stuff she’s done!
Category - People: Operator of the Year
Robert Budway represents the operator every community wants on their team.He brings his experience and knowledge to practical solutions with a caring attitude.As an operator for OCWA, Robert is currently looking after Capital projects for the Essex area.During the last 2 years, in the midst of the worst Pandemic Canada has seen, Robert offered his support to remote First Nation communities in Neskantaga for 186 days and also to Moose Factory for 21 days.COVID risks and implications in Neskantaga were significant and diligent measures were required for entry into the community and working in the community (working alone).During these times, Robert was far away from home and supporting the communities.Robert’s work and dedication is an inspiration in this challenging time of scarcity of water and wastewater operators.Staff at OCWA look to Robert as an example of what can happen with dedication.Providing water and wastewater services remains most impactful to communities across Canada.
Category - People: Legacy Award
William H. Brant
For over 45 years, Bill Brant has brought innovation and care to the rural municipalities of southern Manitoba. Bill specializes in the water and wastewater sectors, and has also made significant contributions to the public works infrastructure and the environment. In Manitoba, Bill was the pioneer of low-pressure sewers, membrane treatment, and water system regionalization. Bill has won several service awards, including the AWWA Distinguished Service Award (2015), the ACEC-MB Engineering Action Award (2011), Western Canada Water Service Award (2003), the AWWA G.W. Fuller Award (1997), and the H.C. Lindsten Award (1997). Bill has demonstrated his expertise through a long-standing and successful mentorship program at WSP, and has inspired dozens of technical professionals, engineers-in-training, and prospective individuals looking to make the jump into the water sector. Bill is a well-respected advocate of the water engineering profession. Bill has been the Editor of the Western Canada Water Magazine for 28 years, and has served as the Western Canada Water President in the 1990s, and the ACEC-MB Director and/or President from 2003 to 2012.
Category - People: Water Steward of the Year
Patrick has dedicated the past 12 years to envisioning and realizing the future of the wastewater industry, using his water technology company to introduce a new way to monitor wastewater, and help solve challenges across the water sector. He is building a strong, innovative team to grow the impact of not just bio-sensing technology, but the integration of new tech and advanced treatment for better water outcomes. Bio-sensing technology provides data about biological activity from much earlier in a treatment process – allowing operators to take earlier action to treat the incoming water more effectively.
Congratulations to all the Water Canada Award winners and finalists. Your contributions exemplify the best of the best in Canada’s water sector!