2024 Finalists


See the full description of awards categories >>>


Drinking Water

This award recognizes a drinking water project that sets a benchmark for innovation and excellence in the Canadian water sector.

Rankin Inlet is an isolated Nunavut community located on the west coast of Hudson Bay with an arctic buried water and sewer system built in the 1970’s that is dealing with age-related and environmental deterioration. The system was at risk from environmental contamination of the underground potable wetwells, cross-contamination within combined water/sewer steel manholes, and reduced fire flow from severe watermain tuberculation amongst other concerns. The Government of Nunavut engaged Dillon Consulting Limited to design system-wide upgrades to mitigate these risks, improve reliability, and increase capacity as soon as possible. Expediting solutions to these challenges is incredibly complex due to the geographic constraints such as permafrost, short construction season, limited equipment/contractors, and minimal transport options via airplane or sealift. With limited site access Dillon leveraged remote capture technology such as 360 scanning and drone LIDAR surveying to create digital assets for live collaboration with the client and Canada-wide design team. Creative engineering solutions were developed to deliver these mitigations on schedule which included: (1) a distribution pump and wetwell replacement with at-grade alternatives within the existing building footprint, (2) first-of-its-kind partitioned water/sewer steel manholes, and (3) watermain design upgrades to mitigate tuberculation and implement cost efficient in-situ refurbishment.

Professional Practice Guidelines on the Preparation of One Water System Risk Management Plans in British Columbia

The traditional regulatory approach for water management often overlooks enterprise-level risks, such as organizational, financial, and climate-related ones, leading to water system failures. This is alarming considering the $12-billion infrastructure deficit in B.C., and recent climate-related impacts like flooding in Grand Forks and Merritt, and droughts province-wide. Engineers and Geoscientists BC (EGBC) crafted interim professional practice guidelines on One Water System Risk Management to address this gap. These guidelines propose a holistic approach to water management, addressing both technical and systemic risks. EGBC has actively involved various partners, including provincial ministries, municipalities, health authorities, Indigenous organizations, and non-profits, ensuring alignment with diverse water supply systems and provincial water management. EGBC piloted the approach with two local governments in BC, demonstrating its benefits in tackling water system risks and prioritizing critical infrastructure. A complementary planning guide is being developed to support communities in adopting a One Water approach, providing strategies for consistent application in water system risk management. EGBC’s leadership in institutionalizing a One Water approach provides a model for engineers to apply holistic risk management with local governments and Indigenous communities.

City of Hamilton – Transformative Water Sampling Program

In 2023, Hamilton upgraded its regulatory Water Sampling Program, innovatively tackling COVID-19’s impact on water safety. The city shifted from traditional methods to a more advanced, city-wide system, enhancing water reliability and safety. This revamp introduced 47 weather-resistant sampling stations and employed a sophisticated Excel-based flushing tool, optimized through GIS and hydraulic modeling. At a cost of $329,000 with a 50-year lifespan, the project balances cost-effectiveness with sustainability. This transition, a response to the pandemic’s challenges, significantly improves water quality monitoring and strengthens community trust in public water services. Hamilton’s initiative exemplifies its commitment to public health and innovative water quality management.

Incorporating Guelph’s Aquifers as Natural Assets

Integrating groundwater into asset management planning formally recognizes water as an asset the City of Guelph is dependent on to provide potable water services. By synthesizing this information into the standard asset management process, management of the groundwater resource can be formally integrated into corporate asset management planning. Doing so allows groundwater to be considered along with the other assets the City owns or relies on. Thus, the goal of this project was to explore how the City can leverage existing efforts already being applied to asset management through the water supply planning process. The overriding question guiding this project was: How do we synthesize the information from the WSMP and Tier 3 water budget into an overall asset assessment to facilitate the integration of groundwater assets into the City’s asset management plan?


This award acknowledges a wastewater project that exemplifies leadership and ingenuity in the Canadian water industry.

Hamilton Water’s Enhanced Sewer Inspection Program is a comprehensive initiative aimed at ensuring a sustainable and healthy sewer system. Key components include: Maintenance Access Hole Inspections: Routine checks focused on structural integrity with a special emphasis on detecting misconnected sewers. Cross Connection Detection: Targeting improper connections between stormwater and sanitary sewers to prevent contamination. Sampling Programs: Regular monitoring of sewer effluent to assess and maintain system health. Dry Weather In-Pipe Sewer Sampling: A proactive measure for accurate system assessments under normal conditions. Sewer Lateral Cross Connection Program: Focused on private property connections, ensuring proper configuration to avoid environmental hazards. The program’s primary goal is to eliminate dry weather discharges into the environment, thereby protecting our waterways and promoting public health.

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The Aurora Sewage System was at capacity and has experienced historic overflow events within its main Sewage Pumping Station (SPS). Following the completion of an Environmental Assessment, the preferred solution was to integrate new regional infrastructure including a trunk sewer, SPS, and a twined forcemain discharging into the York Durham Sewage System. This new project increased capacity for sewage conveyance and alleviated pressure on the current wastewater system during extreme wet weather events. The Henderson SPS project was designed using 3D – Computational Fluid Dynamics to optimize the design of the wet well and pump operation to Hydraulic Institute standards. Microtunnelling, and the caisson sinking method, was the preferred method for installation of the inlet trunk sewer and sewage pumping station, for a number of reasons including lowest overall carbon footprint during construction, and least traffic management impact to the general public.

On hot summer days, playing at a waterpark is a real treat. These sites waste a lot of water, which can put a damper on the fun. ChemBrains’ Aqualoop closed loop system technology increases water efficiency in waterparks while maintaining water quality, using a combination of techniques such as electrochemical, photocatalytic, filtration and advanced oxidation, to clarify, treat and disinfect water. This reduces water use by up to 80 per cent. This solution is changing the way waterparks manage their water and is currently being tested at a municipal waterpark in Montreal. The treatment technology is also being applied for industrial wastewater. Aqualoop is used to treat and recycle water in the surface treatment industry, replacing conventional activated-carbon-technology that generates several tons of waste. ChemBrains’ solution reduces operating costs by 30 per cent and avoids the disposal of tons of used activated carbon. This is now operational in two surface finishing companies in Montreal.


This award honors a stormwater project that stands out for its excellence and innovation in Canada’s water sector.

Woodland and 2nd has transformed into a blue-green system that manages water and land in a way that is inspired by nature and replicates natural functions. It brings services to a lower income, underserviced, insufficient park space and climate change susceptible Vancouver neighbourhood, adding capacity for increased housing density. A 200m2 bioswale captures close to 3,000 m2 of rainwater runoff, keeping 3.8 million liters of rainwater runoff out of the sewer annually. The project supports environmental and economic benefits including green jobs, and improved water quality and aquatic ecosystem health, contributing towards Tsleil-Waututh Nation goal of restoring a food fishery in Burrard Inlet. It pilots innovative inlets, construction material reuse, protection of existing trees, and work around multiple utility conflicts. Ongoing monitoring of sustainable material performance, groundwater, and plant health will help evaluate design performance and inform future GRI design standards.

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Stormwater carries pollutants into streams and is a leading, nonpoint, source of pollution. One of the primary pollutants of concern is sediment, which is a contaminant that often carries other contaminants such as nutrients and/or metals. Treating runoff is a large, and growing, concern for municipalities.
Oil grit separators are used to remove sediment from runoff. Small systems cost less but do not perform as well. This requires a price/performance trade off. The tradeoff is typically addressed by using a swirling path to maximize settling time. The StormSettler has a plate settling design that increases settling area rather than settling time. The StormSettler is a unique hybrid of wastewater and stormwater technology that provides hundreds of times more surface area per footprint, overcoming the limitation of swirl-based systems. It received a patent in 2023.
The StormSettler was developed and tested in Canada. It was the only technology verified by ETV Canada in 2023.

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Revolutionizing Stormwater Management: Hamilton Water’s Drone-Driven Approach for Enhanced Data Accuracy and Compliance

In 2023, Hamilton Water embraced drone technology to enhance stormwater facility data accuracy, aligning with new compliance regulations for improved pond dredging timing. The city manages 130 stormwater management facilities (SWMF), crucial for runoff detention and sediment settlement. Traditionally, sediment surveys required labour-intensive, manual measurements, posing accuracy and safety challenges. This innovative approach utilizes drone-mounted sonar for precise sediment level estimation. The drones, equipped with advanced sonar and photogrammetry technology, map SWMFs in high resolution, offering a more accurate assessment of storage capacity. This data-driven methodology optimizes dredging schedules, ensuring effective stormwater treatment and financial efficiency. The project allows for accurate maintenance planning, ensuring optimal dredging times, saving costs, and enhancing safety by reducing on-water crew requirements.


In 2023, Hamilton Water embarked on a crucial project, eliminating invasive species from numerous stormwater facilities to significantly boost water quality. This groundbreaking initiative uses advanced mapping technology to pinpoint and tackle high-risk areas. Hamilton Water’s strategy combines community education with both mechanical and biological control methods, underlining its commitment to sustainable, environmentally friendly practices. This proactive approach has successfully cleared invasive species from multiple areas, directly enhancing water quality and ecosystem health. Hamilton’s innovative efforts in managing stormwater set a benchmark in urban environmental stewardship. Building on this success, Hamilton Water continues to target and treat other ponds, expanding its impact and reinforcing its role as a leader in sustainable water management.


This award recognizes a conservation project that exemplifies outstanding stewardship and environmental responsibility in the Canadian water sector.

Waterlix uses AI and remote sensing for real-time global water pollution monitoring. It identifies pollution sources, crucial for environmental protection. The technology spans Great Lakes, Brazil, Germany, UK, Singapore, and parts of Persian Gulf, Caspian Sea, Red Sea, and Ukraine. It targets key pollutants like nitrates, phosphates, and ammonia. Waterlix analyzes satellite and has overcome challenges like image reliability, data noise, and climate change effects. It uses AI and mathematical modeling to eliminate cloud effects. Waterlix has a live global pollution tracking pipeline, a significant advancement. This project could greatly enhance water pollution monitoring, a critical concern for water utilities and communities.

In 2012, Calgary’s biosolids production from their wastewater treatment plants was exceeding storage capacity and a new beneficial reuse option was needed. SYLVIS Environmental proposed to fertilize marginal agricultural land with biosolids and grow willow for feedstock use at Calgary’s Composting Facility. To date, the project has reused 54,000 dry tonnes of biosolids to regain capacity, renewed 300 hectares of marginal soil and harvested 3,800 tonnes of willow. Willow is also supplied to the zoo as animal feed and a willow weaving business. The plantation has encouraged biodiversity and sequestered carbon while the agricultural crops have seen up to a 70 per cent increase in yield. As Alberta farmers face increasing drought, the project provides further evidence that beneficial reuse is a safe practice for creating resilient soils. Through multi-partner creative collaboration, the project has achieved a circular economy that sustains both soil conservation and biosolids management practices.

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The Riparian Web Portal (riparian.info) addresses the challenge of managing and restoring riparian ecosystems, crucial for water quality, biodiversity, and flood control. In Canada, where riparian areas are vital but often degraded, this platform offers comprehensive resources and tools for conservation practitioners, policymakers, and the public. Applied in real-world settings, the portal facilitates collaboration among stakeholders, providing access to data, best practices, and case studies. For instance, it aids in planning and implementing restoration projects along rivers and streams, fostering informed decision-making and community engagement. This portal employs new technology and a creative approach by centralizing diverse information in a user-friendly interface. It integrates GIS mapping, multimedia content, and interactive features, allowing users to visualize spatial data, share knowledge, and connect with experts. The Web Portal hosts datasets from six watershed alliances, showcasing over 40,000 km of riparian intactness data and examples of real on-the-ground projects. Landowners can browse photos, timelines, and supporting partners of restoration and conservation projects in their area. Links to over 75 online resources are provided to users of the site. By leveraging technology, the Riparian Web Portal enhances accessibility, scalability, and effectiveness in riparian conservation efforts, making it a noteworthy contender for the award category.


This award acknowledges an education project that serves as a beacon of knowledge dissemination and community empowerment in Canada’s water sector.

Wastewater-based surveillance (WBS) has existed since the 1940s. However, it emerged more prominently during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic as an evidence-based, cost-effective, and robust detection method for infectious diseases at all stages. Despite the rapid progress between 2020 and 2022, many questions about WBS and its methodologies remained. To foster ongoing discussions, Canadian Water Network (CWN) and the National Collaborating Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCCID) established a peer-learning program. Between April 2023 and March 2024, the program witnessed active engagement from 28 public health practitioners from five provinces. These practitioners met monthly to share their knowledge and information about their needs. They also had the opportunity to learn from and interact with notable experts like Dr. Amy Kirby from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr. Gertjan Medema from the KWR Watercycle Research Institute, and Dr. Doug Manuel from the University of Ottawa. The program benefits from CWN’s experience running Strategic Sharing Groups (SSGs). SSGs convene thought leaders to share knowledge on emerging topics. Our team actively frames the discussions and curates key insights for program participants to accelerate, advance and improve decision-making.

One of our most pressing challenges is the lack of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services affecting vulnerable populations locally/globally. Canada has top water graduate programs, but none dedicated to WASH for low-resource contexts. WASH Canada is an NSERC-funded interdisciplinary graduate training program that upskills the next generation of leaders to collaboratively tackle contemporary WASH issues affecting at-risk groups (in Canada and abroad). Connecting students across eight Canadian universities, from various fields and disciplines, this program provides weekly knowledge exchange opportunities in the form of journal club meetings, expert module sessions and the popular WASH Talks (with a global following). Every year culminates with our three-week immersive WASH Field School in Colombia. This experiential activity prompts trainees to learn by observing different approaches to water and sanitation services and reflect on factors (technical, economic, social, etc.) dictating their design and implementation in varied contexts. WASH Canada has shifted away from conventional engineering training with a multi-disciplinary lens that empowers trainees with the knowledge, skills and mindset to tackle water and sanitation challenges — one of greatest issues of historic and global inequity. It has earned United Nations Institute of Training & Research accreditation with 30 trained students since 2022 (and plans to expand in the next 4 years).

Green Infrastructure is a challenging education topic – much of the infrastructure is unseen underground. Vancouver undertook a community science campaign to bring infrastructure to the surface. Four biobitzes were held to measure biodiversity on the Rainway, a four-block GI system along a neighbourhood street. Participants learned to identify birds, plants and insects while learning about project benefits: rainwater management, biodiversity, urban cooling, and flood reduction. A neighborhood clean-up was integrated into one event to reach new audiences. Over 60 community scientists participated. Others curious by what these community scientists were doing stopped to ask questions, expanding reach and community investment. We used data to identify keystone species that informed design and maintenance in new ways to encourage biodiversity health and expansion. More bioblitzes will be held to measure biodiversity changes and develop stewardship connections when construction finishes. 

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This award celebrates a project that has made a significant impact on policy and regulatory frameworks governing water management in Canada.

Professional Practice Guidelines on the Preparation of One Water System Risk Management Plans in British Columbia

The traditional regulatory approach for water management often overlooks enterprise-level risks, such as organizational, financial, and climate-related ones, leading to water system failures. This is alarming considering the $12-billion infrastructure deficit in BC, and recent climate-related impacts like flooding in Grand Forks and Merritt, and droughts province-wide. Engineers and Geoscientists BC (EGBC) crafted interim professional practice guidelines on One Water System Risk Management to address this gap. These guidelines propose a holistic approach to water management, addressing both technical and systemic risks. EGBC has actively involved various partners, including provincial ministries, municipalities, health authorities, Indigenous organizations, and non-profits, ensuring alignment with diverse water supply systems and provincial water management. EGBC piloted the approach with two local governments in BC, demonstrating its benefits in tackling water system risks and prioritizing critical infrastructure. A complementary planning guide is being developed to support communities in adopting a One Water approach, providing strategies for consistent application in water system risk management. EGBC’s leadership in institutionalizing a One Water approach provides a model for engineers to apply holistic risk management with local governments and Indigenous communities.

For more information, click here >>>

National Indigenous Water Operator Day (NIWOD), inaugurated by Water Movement in 2022, has dramatically shifted the landscape of water management in Canada. It has transformed the way Indigenous water operators are recognized, integrating their critical insights and experiences into the national policy framework. This direct engagement with policymakers in Ottawa, advocating for legal recognition of NIWOD, marked a historic step towards embedding Indigenous perspectives in water governance, influencing changes that resonate across the sector. NIWOD’s establishment has led to increased awareness and acknowledgment of the vital role these operators play in ensuring water quality and safety in Indigenous communities. By bringing operators to the policy-making table, it has facilitated a dialogue that was previously absent, combining traditional knowledge with modern practices, and influencing policy decisions that affect stormwater, wastewater, and drinking water management. This engagement has not only empowered operators but has also raised the profile of their profession, inspired youth interest in water management careers, and fostered community pride in their water heroes. The recognition by figures like Honourable Pierre Poilievre and Right Honourable Justin Trudeau underscores its national significance and the successful elevation of water operators’ voices in shaping a more sustainable and equitable water future for Canada.

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Hamilton’s Lead Removal Initiative: Setting New Standards in Water Safety

Hamilton Water took a decisive step in public health protection by adding wording to the Property Standards Bylaw, requiring all water supply lines connected to the city’s water system to be effectively maintained, free from leaks or defects, and importantly, without any lead components. Hamilton Water also updated the Water Works Bylaw which focused on the management, distribution, and maintenance of the water works systems. It emphasizes Hamilton’s commitment to upholding high standards in the materials and composition of water service lines. Hamilton Water’s decisive action to mandate the removal of lead service lines underpins a major push towards improving public health. This bylaw not only marks a significant advancement in Hamilton’s water quality but also serves as a powerful tool for enforcement. The city’s unwavering commitment to a lead-free water supply illustrates a proactive approach in ensuring the well-being and safety of its community.

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This award acknowledges a program or project that is actively promoting diversity and addressing skills shortages in the Canadian water sector.

In the Indigenous water sector, operator retention is alarmingly low, and the next generation is disengaged—hardly surprising when visibility into water sector professions, particularly the role of operators, is nearly nonexistent. Water Movement’s interactive workshops confront this disconnect head-on, creating an environment where knowledge and passion for water management are not just taught but experienced. We’ve developed an interactive workshop that brings to life the water profession for students. Unlike conventional lectures, our workshops captivate participants with the construction of edible water pods and the sharing of knowledge through an energy circle. These hands-on experiences allow students to connect directly with operators, water keepers and engineers. Through both in-person and virtual workshops, we’re reaching Indigenous communities nationwide, igniting an interest in the sector among those who may one day be its backbone. Simultaneously, our university sessions target future project managers, engineers, and policymakers, stressing the criticality of collaboration with operators to avoid the siloed approaches that currently challenge the industry. This holistic strategy is Water Movement’s commitment to reshaping the sector’s landscape: by fostering a greater understanding and respect for the operator’s role, we aim to enhance retention and ensure that operators feel valued and integral to community success, paving the way for a sustainable water future.

This unique course focuses on fresh water and entrepreneurship and builds water-literacy in management students, ensuring future leaders and entrepreneurs are water-aware and equipped to make water-wise decisions. Developed by AquaAction, and based on a partnership with the McGill Dobson Center for Entrepreneurship, this course ensures hands on learning for students, the latest theories on regenerative economics and connects them with pioneering water impact-entrepreneurs. Its goal is skills-building and awareness raising that readies a next generation of water stewards to enter the private sector or launch businesses that are sustainable, water-wise and part of a more regenerative economy.

Nunavut faces a shortage of water professionals despite a growing population and urgent need for new water infrastructure. Most design and construction work is currently outsourced to Southern Canada, and it remains difficult to hire and retain local water system operations staff, leading to acute and chronic water safety risks in communities. To address this, Nunavut is implementing new operator certification requirements that align with Canadian standards. My team aims to establish a career pipeline to support Nunavut youth interested in water and wastewater management careers. This initiative will provide training in communities covering topics required for operator certification, along with skills development in data analysis and communication. Focusing on Grade 10 and above in Cambridge Bay, the pilot project offers paid opportunities, which includes water sampling, analysis, operator training and presentation skills, in the hopes of building community capacity in drinking water.


New Tech 

This award recognizes a groundbreaking new product that represents the forefront of technological innovation in the Canadian water sector.

Aquanty has developed a real-time machine learning (Artificial Intelligence)-based streamflow forecasting and flood warning system to support community-based climate change adaptation and flood risk mitigation measures. Climate change is altering seasonal runoff patterns; snowmelt is occurring earlier and watersheds have become more rainfall-dominated. Historical records cease to be a reliable guide for water resource management and flood risk assessment is becoming more difficult. ML-based streamflow forecasts are highly skillful in predicting discharge/flow rates and associated flood risk. Aquanty already operates a fully-integrated ML-based hydrologic forecasting system in select watersheds throughout Ontario. With further training data, this ML-based system has the potential to achieve superior forecasting skill (compared to traditional methods) and can be deployed in nearly any watershed across Ontario.

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The devastating impact of excessive road salt run-off plagues many communities and eco-systems. Clean Nature have developed an AI-based solution to install on road-salt dispersal trucks to optimise the application of road salt in real time as the truck travels on the roads. This solution is currently being tested with the municipality of L’Assomption in Quebec. This solution promises to be the answer many municipalities and communities have been looking for to address this critical issue in their watersheds.

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Peter Christou innovated Swirltex’s BEMF technology in his Edmonton garage. This advancement addresses issues in membrane-based wastewater treatment, tackling high energy consumption, poor contaminants separation, fouling, excessive chemical usage, and maintenance costs. BEMF significantly enhances tubular membrane performance by introducing air injection, creating a two-phase flow and centrifugal force, thus enabling use in complex wastewater applications with reduced energy consumption and promoting water reuse. This breakthrough is deployed in challenging waste streams like coal wastewater, produced water, food & beverage, and forestry applications, enhancing wastewater treatment and reuse efficiency. Presently, BEMF technology stands as one of Canada’s largest wastewater treatment and reuse systems

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Emerging Leader

This award celebrates a rising star in the Canadian water sector who demonstrates passion, potential, and a commitment to excellence.

Mita Dasog is a leading researcher on the development of low-cost and thermally stable plasmonic materials as sustainable alternatives to noble metal-based nanostructures for solar-driven water treatment. Her research group has upcycled carbon-based waste such as biomass, food, and difficult to recycle substances like tires into plasmonic transition metal carbides. Photothermal interfaces made using these carbide nanostructures have shown solar-to-vapor conversion efficiencies of 96 per cent under 1-sun and no salt fouling >100 days. These interfaces can also desalinate brine with salt concentrations up to 35 per cent without significant loss in efficiency. Current membrane-based desalination technologies cannot handle such high salt concentrations. Based on this technology, her group developed floating desalination units, which, when tested in Halifax harbor, showed simultaneous desalination, disinfection, and decontamination capabilities under natural sunlight. They also had the highest water generation efficiency reported to date. In recognition of her contributions, Mita was named one of the 10 Canadian Water Sheroes by the Office of the Chief Scientist to the Prime Minister of Canada and the Red Dot Foundation. Currently, her group is developing modular floating desalination units for low-income communities. Despite being early in her career, she has already been inducted as a fellow of Global Young Academy, Royal Society of Canada College, and Royal Society of Chemistry.

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Lauren is a veritable renaissance woman when it comes to freshwater protection, and her impact ranges from the international to the local. She has (among many other achievements):

  • Conceived of and developed many projects that explore the nature of/solutions to threats to Canadian/international freshwater supplies. One explores the impact of QACs on freshwater bodies—found in domestic and industrial cleaners used by billions every day across the globe. Another discovered what oil spills do to freshwater, and how we can clean them up most effectively to protect local communities.
  • Mentored and inspired dozens of burgeoning freshwater scientists from across Canada in best practices, critical thinking and skill building when it comes to freshwater fieldwork. Those students have gone on to work in academia, industry, and government around the world to bolster freshwater protection in their respective locales.
  • Educated hundreds of high-school students from local communities on issues that plague our freshwater supplies and how they can empower themselves to make a difference. This includes hundreds of Manitoban students from low-income backgrounds who would not have access to these courses otherwise.
  • Worked collaboratively with Indigenous communities across Ontario and Manitoba on a project studying wild rice with the ultimate goal of better understanding the potential threats to this culturally and economically significant food source for millions.

For more information, click here >>>

When speaking to colleagues, many of whom work in the highest level of government, academia, and civil society, I continue to hear ringing endorsements of Emily’s talents, skills and leadership and compliments about her enthusiasm and passion for water. She presents herself with confidence, professionalism, empathy, and a strong desire to create a better environment. She influences the Canadian water community through her work on the Canada Water Agency and forging partnerships by co-leading the Canadian Coalition for Healthy Waters, representing over 75 organizations. Additionally, Emily inspires young water professionals through mentorship. In 2023, she spoke at the UNECE on the barriers youth face starting in the water sector and at U of T, McGill, and TMU to graduate classes to offer support, guidance, and insider information to best help their career journeys. As she progresses in the sector, she ensures that she creates a path for many to follow alongside her.

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Operator of the Year

This award honors an exemplary operator whose dedication and leadership have set a benchmark for excellence in the Canadian water sector.

Jonathan Riberdy has taken a stressful and sometimes impossible-feeling situation and has used it to spread the word on the importance of water operators, especially in First Nation communities. Sit with him for a moment or two and he’ll share with you his dreams and aspirations to inspire the next generation in water. He’s not just an ideas guy–he’s a hard worker, driven to perfection, who finds time in the little downtime he has after juggling the needs of an underfunded and difficult to maintain water treatment plant to care for both his family and community.

More information:

Hidden Hero: Zhiibaahaasing water operator’s drive for safe drinking water

Jonathan Riberdy of Zhiibaahaasing First Nation announced as recipient of the 2021 National First Nations Water Leadership Award

Jonathan Riberdy of Zhiibaahaasing First Nation receives the 2021 National First Nations Water Leadership Award

Kevin is invested in the City of Merritt. Starting out as a seasonal labourer for the City, he has worked hard to move up to become a certified WWTP operator, where he has spent the past 14 years making sure that the plant runs smoothly. Wearing many hats, Kevin also must be an out-of-the-box creative thinker, coming up with solutions to the same issues larger WWTP’s have without the luxury of a trove of replacement parts at hand.

The greatest challenge he has faced to date was Merritt’s flood in 2021. The city was inundated with an unprecedented volume of water, which meant the operators weren’t just called into action to protect residents and the environment from the rising waters, but also the critical infrastructure of the WWTP. Kevin has recently been recognized for his hard work and awarded the 2022 EOCP Operator of the Year award where the level of support provided for his nomination was unprecedented. He barely took a break during the Merritt floods and his contributions in getting water and wastewater systems running again were significant.

Water Steward of the Year

This award recognizes an individual who demonstrates outstanding commitment to preserving the health and integrity of Canada’s water resources.

For over 23 years, Mark Mattson has used his passion for water and legal acumen to start a movement for swimmable, drinkable, fishable water. As an Environmental lawyer, Mark has held industry and individuals accountable for pollution. His community impact has been felt with over 2 billion dollars invested in the restoration of water quality around the Great Lakes. As a member of the IJC’s Water Quality Board, and Great Lakes Guardians, Mark has been an influential voice in the decision of the past, present and future of the Great Lakes. Mark is the recipient of the Toronto Foundation’s Vital People Award in 2010 and is the President, CEO, and Founder of Swim Drink Fish Canada.

More info about Mark >>>

Kate is the CEO and leader of a not for profit utility (commission), ARROW Utilities, that services 13 municipalities. She is passionate both about the affordability of utility delivery, the water equity and the long term sustainability of water, when we consider the need to manage water as a finite resource. She is leading an evolution within the Alberta context of bringing in water reuse as a normalized opportunity for the support of commercial/industrial development and the energy sector. She has spent the better part of the past two years educating and lobbying to both the province and the federal government’s considerations for changes as we look at water and water management. Through her educating efforts she has begun changing the way communities regionally look at water as one water and consider each of our streams of water for a positive use, from potable water, used waters, stormwaters and fresh/groundwater. In 2023 Kate worked with the Board of Directors to approve and begin design and construction of a $166M water re-use plant, which will be the biggest MBR plant in North America. These waters will be re-used directly with industry to both sustainably manage waters and the energy investment in treated waters, as well as provide sustainable revenues to stabilize utility rates and reinvest in the asset management of the Commission. Kate’s revolutionary visioning for the Commission, will provide a myriad of outcomes to support the region, from economic prosperity, and water resiliency.

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Atshapi Andrew has been acting as the Director of the Community Development Department (with a focus on the ISETP & IELCC programs) for Sheshatshiu Innu First Nation over the last six years. During that time, Atshapi has worked on building the confidence and skills of Innu People in his community to seek out or further their careers in various fields. Atshapi’s innovative mindset has allowed his community to set up new methods of childcare, which created new jobs but also remove a huge barrier to employment for young families. One of the projects he led that stands out is the Park Lake Project. The Park Lake Project focuses on training community members to become Community Guides and to develop a long-term water, fish and climate change monitoring program to sustainably run an adventure tourism and education facility at Park Lake (adjacent to the Akami-Uapishkᵁ-KakKasuak-Mealy Mountains National Park Reserve in Labrador). The program has run for more than four years now and has involved many partners (including Water First, the University of Guelph, FRI Ecological Services and more). The Community Guides have been successfully trained to carry out environmental monitoring and guiding around Park Lake. They are currently planning to open the education facility to other members and non members to promote Land based learning, knowledge exchange and a two eyed approach to conservation at Park Lake.

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