Lake Winnipeg Challenge 2020

AquaHacking Challenge

Lake Winnipeg 2020

Between January and October 2020 young innovators  – from Winnipeg and beyond – 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 Particuleye is a smart camera capable of quantifying and classifying microplastic particles in real time through running water, using machine learning and image processing techniques.



Quinn Desrochers,Michael Beck, Ryan Tran, Zacharie Gousseau & Waseem Jawad

Second Place

LasIr Nutrient Technology

A portable device that uses infrared spectroscopy to analyze plant-available phosphate concentrations in soil, providing users with on-site, real-time results.



Bentley Turner & Meagan Smith

Third Place


Typha co. is developing ecopackaging products that will compete economically with plastics while maintaining a high standard of environmental responsibility.



Alec Masse & Julien Koga

Fourth Place

Water Secure

Water Secure is a series of localized testing hubs that affordably track water quality and upload the data to a live water map.



Tinsae Alemu, Noor Tajik & Arslan Azeem

Fifth Place


A digital simulated platform that provides feedback to policymakers on the efficacy of farm incentives aimed at water conservation & nutrient management to protect water quality.



Waseem Jawad, Luke Trinity

The Water Issues

Icon of a plastic bottle in water


We need exciting and innovative solutions to understand how microplastics end up in Lake Winnipeg and to remove microplastics from wastewater before they reach Lake Winnipeg.


Water Issue Leader:
Chelsea Rochman, University of Toronto, Michael Rennie, Lakehead University and Sarah Warrack, IISD Experimental Lakes Area

Icon of a dollar sign with waves

Financing a healthier Lake Winnipeg

We need exciting and innovative solutions, ideally using new financial technologies, to help concerned citizens easily invest money in the protection of Lake Winnipeg and find out what the impact of their money has been.


Water Issue Leader:
Geoff Gunn and Madeline Stanley from the International Institute for Sustainable Development

Icon of two fish

Fish Health

We need exciting and innovative solutions to remove drug residue from wastewater before it ends up in Lake Winnipeg and to assess fish health and populations without having to kill the fish being tested.


Water Issue Leader:
Vince Palace, Lee Hrenchuk and Lauren Hayhurst from IISD Experimental Lakes Area

Icon of a farm

Water and Land Management

We need exciting and innovative solutions to help farmers understand their fields in this changing climate so they can increase their profitability sustainably while reducing the amount of phosphorus that ends up in Lake Winnipeg.


Water Issue Leader:
Mitchell Timmerman from Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development and Alanna Gray from Keystone Agricultural Producers

Icon of a water pouring from a tap into a glass

Drinking Water in Northern Communities

We need innovative and cost-effective solutions to support northern communities to test the quality of their own drinking water supplies while addressing community needs and Indigenous perspectives.


Water Issue Leader:

Pauline Gerrard from IISD

Advisory Committee

Peter Tielmann

President, Palliser; IISD Board Member – Palliser Furniture Holdings Ltd.

Ray Bouchard

President, Chair of EMILI – Enns Brothers + EMILI

Jay Myers

Co-Founder & VP Growth – Bold Commerce

Glenn Crook

VP Commercial Financial Services, MB West; IISD-ELA Board Member – RBC

Mark Alexiuk

CTO & Co-Founder – Sightline Innovation Inc.

Joelle Foster

President – North Forge

Annette Trimbee

President & Vice-Chancellor – University of Winnipeg

Dayna Spiring

President & CEO – Economic Development Winnipeg

Ray Hoemsen

Executive Director, Research Partnerships & Innovation – Red River College

Masoud Asadzadeh

Assistant Professor, Civil Engineering (Water Resources) – University of Manitoba

Joanne Zuk

Assistant Deputy Minister, Renewal and Strategic Alignment – Government of Manitoba

Chris Kirby

Senior Technology Leader – IBM

Anne-Pascale Richardson

Program Manager – AquaHacking


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.