Great Lakes 2019

AquaHacking Challenge

Great Lakes & St Lawrence Basin 2019

Between February and October 2019 young innovators were invited to put their skills to work, creating ground-breaking solutions to some of the most critical environmental freshwater issues.

Hosted By

Congratulations to the finalists


First Place

The Green Stop

The Green Stop became O'Land and offers eco-friendly services in outdoor urban settings - starting with access to free drinking water refill stations - to reduce plastic pollution and save our oceans.



Rachel L.Bellas, Brendan Carberry and Olabode Agagu


Second Place

Clean Nature

Clean Nature offers an innovative solution for winter road maintenance, excessive de-icing salts application and chlorine water pollution. Their solution focuses on preventing excessive salt road use through an adapted artificial intelligence model (AIM) based on real-time local environmental, meteorological and road conditions.



Anne Carabin, Patricia Gomez
and Claudie Ratté-Fortin


Third Place


Their solution captures microfibers after the stock air filter with an add-on well-adapted filter. By overlooking the current air filtration technologies and with a rigorous analysis of drying conditions (temperature, humidity, flow rate, pressure) it is feasible to develop adaptable dryer filters for microparticles.



Guilhem Aliaga, Francois-Xavier Teysseire,
Jean-Claude Chartrand, Valerie Boucher
and Cassandra Guerette


Fourth Place


A user-friendly device combined with an eco-friendly process for pre-wet salt and sanding techniques for winter road.



Lauren Gaile, Frederick Dufresne
Kevin Desjardina-Galley and Connie Lopez


Fifth Place

Bello Water

Bello Water became Bello. and they have reinvented the distribution of drinking water offering a sustainable alternative to the plastic water bottle.



Clement Bouland & Marc Schaal


Sixth Place


A digital platform to increase the public's trust in municipal tap water, and raise awareness about where to find public water fountains, to effectively decrease the use of plastic water bottles. Furthermore, applying current computing technology, in particular, Artificial Intelligence (IBM watson), they want to better understand the usage of tap water and assist in urban planning.



Mohamed Ibrahim, Yin Zhou and Monica Mazur

About the Challenge

The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Basin is the largest system of fresh surface water on earth, containing 21% of the world's freshwater. As such, it's the primary drinking water source for over 40 million people, and it would rank as the third largest economy in the world if it was a country.
Between February and October 2019, young innovative minds - from Ontario and Quebec- were invited to create groundbreaking solutions to critical environmental water issues affecting the Basin.

Great Lakes St Lawrence Basin

The Water Issues

Icon of a plastic bottle in water


How might we develop an intervention to prevent plastics and microplastics from entering the waters of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Basin?


Water Issue Leaders:
University of Sherbrooke, McMaster University and Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative



How might we develop a solution to prevent wipes from contaminating wastewater collection and treatment systems?


Water Issue Leader:
Municipal Enforcement Sewer Use Group



How might we divert road salt from entering the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Basin?


Water Issue Leader:



How could we reduce climate-related damages and economic losses from flooding for individuals, communities, infrastructure and the environment in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River Basin?


Water Issue Leader:
Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative

Icon of a water pouring from a tap into a glass


How might we increase public trust and use of public water throughout the City of Montreal?


Water Issue Leaders:

City of Montreal and APEL

Advisory Committee

Jean-François Barsoum

Senior Associate Consultant, Smart Cities (Water and Transportation) - IBM

Kevin Boehmer

Managing director – Water Institute, University of Waterloo

Bernadette Conant

CEO – Canadian Water Network

Kerry Freek

VP and Senior manager of communications – WaterTap

Madhu Malhotra

Manager, Strategic Analysis Section, Land and Water Policy Branch - Ontario Ministry of Environment

Scott McKay

Program and Policy Manager – Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative

Sébastien Sauvé

Vice-Dean, Faculty of Arts and Science – University of Montreal

Nancy Stalder-Salt

Great Lakes Program Coordinator – Environment and Climate Change Canada

Brendas Lucas

Executive Director – Southern Ontario Water Consortium

Jacques Durocher

Chairman – Stratégies Saint-Laurent

Mélanie Deslongchamps

Executive Director – APEL


Interested in bringing AquaHacking to a watershed near you and improving freshwater health? Let’s Connect, or follow us on social to be the first to know about our next Challenge.