Visuals_Registration_ATL2022_for partners

5 water issues to Hack Through the AquaHacking Atlantic Canada Challenge!

By Laurence Basso
Spread the Word

The AquaHacking Challenge is back in Atlantic Canada in partnership with Saint Mary’s University! This region is home to a spectacular and dynamic freshwater and marine ecosystem. However, these ecosystems are facing many issues for which innovative technological solutions could make a big difference. This is where YOU can step in: help find these solutions! Register for the Challenge, form a team, pick a water issue, develop a solution, and pitch it to a panel of judges. You just may take home $20 000 in seed funding to launch your own water-tech start-up & so much more! Don’t have an entrepreneurial background? No problem! The AquaHacking team supports Challenge participants through skills-building workshops, mentors, experts, and webinars. Jump on board and make a difference for water!

Here are the five water issues to hack through this innovative competition:  


Nova Scotia has over 13 000 km of coastline. 70% of Nova Scotians live along the coast or within 20 km of it, and 50% of those that do rely on groundwater as their water source. Groundwater and wells that are near the coast are at high risk from saltwater intrusion due to rising sea levels and changing water demands, as well as increased occurrences of droughts. There are some major gaps in terms of knowledge and solutions concerning saltwater intrusion of wells in particular.  How can we provide well water users with cost-effective solutions for saltwater intrusion? Water Issue Leaders: Logan Horrocks, GIS Specialist, and Charlynne Robertson, Senior Manager – Clean Coasts at Clean Foundation. To learn more about this water issue, watch the following explanatory webinar.


Aquatic invasive species are among the leading threats to native wildlife and biodiversity. How do these invaders get in? Pathways of introduction are many and varied. Once in local ecosystems, the impacts of invasive species also vary tremendously, but the most consistent and prevalent negative effects include biodiversity loss and reduction of habitat quality, which impacts food webs and aquatic ecosystems. They are very costly from a management perspective, and they can be very harmful to recreational activities.  With climate change, these negative impacts are even more likely.  We need to reduce the negative impacts and control the spread of these invaders. How can we improve the control and management of aquatic invasive species? Water Issue Leaders: Kaylee MacLeod, Senior Field Technician – Species at Risk and Biodiversity at Coastal Action and Erin Francheville, MSc App Sci (2024) at SMU. To learn more about this water issue, watch the following explanatory webinar.


Collection of water quality data is a big concern in the Atlantic region – and across Canada. The data collected is crucial in better understanding the current quality of our water, as well as how it’s impacted by the increase in urbanization and climate change, for instance.  A lot of data is needed for community organizations and environmental NGOs to design their field activities and to inform local decision-making. There is a need for automated and cost-effective solutions to monitor water quality and changes in water quality over time. How can we provide automated and cost-effective solutions to monitor water quality? Water Issue Leaders: Curtis Forbes, Project Biologist, and Kalen Mawer, Aquatic Science Program Manager at Eastern Charlotte Waterways Inc. To learn more about this water issue, watch the following explanatory webinar.


Building green infrastructure is one way to mitigate the impacts of stormwater run-off. Much of these infrastructure projects are managed by smaller organizations which can make infrastructure sustainability and long-term management difficult. How can we improve green infrastructure maintenance and care practices to ensure long-term stormwater management so they remain effective, especially during high-water events?? Water Issue Leaders: Jamylynn McDonald, Climate Change Coordinator at ACAP Saint John. To learn more about this water issue, watch the following explanatory webinar.


The local government regulates a broad range of activities (alteration projects) on numerous streams, rivers, and lakes, all with a focus on positive outcomes. Anyone carrying out this work requires certification however it is still challenging to guide them and make sure projects won’t negatively impact water quality and accessibility.  There is a lot of opportunity for innovative solutions to disrupt and improve the design and processes of these projects in order to reduce environmental impact. How can we innovate to improve the alteration projects occurring in our lakes and rivers to mitigate environmental impacts? Water Issue Leader: Annamarie Burgess, Senior Water Resources Engineer, Water Resources Management Unit, at Nova Scotia Department of Environment & Climate Change. To learn more about this water issue, watch the following explanatory webinar.

To go deeper, you can also watch the ask me anything session with all the water issues leaders which complement the webinars very well.  Register today  & #TakeAquaAction

Prizes include: After the semi-finals, the top 5 teams (finalists) will receive $2,000 as financial support to help the development of their solution and their business plan until the end of the competition. At the finals, all finalist teams will be guaranteed a place in a local Startup incubator & a seed fund:

  • 1st place: $20,000 CAD
  • 2nd place: $15,000 CAD
  • 3rd place: $10,000 CAD
  • 4th place: $5,000 CAD
  • 5th place: $5,000 CAD
  • Public choice award: $1,000 CAD
  • Credits for using the legal services of our partner Lavery Lawyers.

Depending on their eligibility, finalist teams may be eligible to receive matching funds for research development from Mitacs’ Entrepreneurial Acceleration Program