Western Canada Challenge 2021

AquaHacking Challenge

Western Canada 2021

Between January and September 2021, young innovative minds - from across Canada - were invited to create ground- breaking solutions to critical environmental water issues facing the Western Canada waterways.

Hosted By

Congratulations to the finalists

First Place

The SIP Project

SIP’s solution is a mobile filtration station in the form of a gravity filter backpack. Water goes into the top of the backpack and filters through three levels of treatment. At the spout, the water is tasteless, clear, and decontaminated.



Elana Wood, Yamen Shehab, Yosamin Esanullah, and Mana Tokuni | UBC Okanagan

Second Place


Eledigm’s device prevents contamination in water cisterns. The device connects to a cistern lid and a water hose ensures that the water is protected from contamination during transportation and storage.



Sydney Strocen, Mikhail Ignatyev, Tarek Alkabbani, and Andre Cox | UBC Okanagan

Third Place

EcoWater - Public Choice Award

ECO-Water minimizes the release of chemicals of emerging concern into water bodies. ECO-Model provides a water treatment system with a risk analysis and helps to optimize the system to achieve the highest removal rate possible. ECO-Filters, derived from agricultural residue, remove the remaining pollutants.



Khaled Benis, Shahab Minaei, Mohsen Asadi | University of Saskatchewan

About the Challenge

Young, innovative minds – from across Canada – were invited to put their skills to work, creating ground-breaking solutions to some of the most critical environmental water issues facing B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.

Streams of water

The Water Issues

Tractor plowing through field

On-Farm nutrient capture and recycling

How can we capture and reuse the valuable nutrients from livestock operations and improve the health of nearby rivers, lakes and aquifers?


Water Issue Leader:
Helen Baulch, Associate Professor, University of Saskatchewan

Dripping faucet with arrows going in a circle around it

Optimization of drinking water / wastewater treatment plants

How can we improve the operations of primary water/wastewater utility infrastructure?


Water Issue Leaders:
Robert Haller, Executive Director, Canadian Water and Wastewater Association
David Paul Teasdale, College Professor, Water Engineering Technology, Okanagan College

Water droplet with algae microbiomes

Toxic algal blooms

How can we improve testing and reduce the incidence of toxic algal blooms?


Water Issue Leader:
Maggie Romuld, Executive Director, Canadian Water Resources Association
Merrin Macrae, Professor, University of Waterloo
David Lobb, Professor, University of Manitoba

Aqua Hacking_Innovative Social Technologies

Innovative ‘social’ technologies for water information

Are there new ways we can link to existing social media and communications technologies to support community access to water information?


Water Issue Leader:
Gabrielle Parent-Doliner, Director, Water Rangers
Graham Strickert, Assistant Professor, University of Saskatchewan

List on a clipboard with water droplets next to it

Water issues summary

In the link below you can find a summary document about the environmental issues in freshwater, with additional information and resources.

Advisory Committee

Andrew Greer

Managing Director, Co-Founder, Purppl

Anna Warwick Sears

Executive Director, Okanagan Basin Water Board

Carolyn DuBois

Director, Water Program, The Gordon Foundation

Claire Jackson

Director of Engineering, waterSMART

David Saltman

Chair, Okanagan Sustainability Leadership Council

Davin Budreau

Senior Policy Analyst, Western Economic Diversification Canada

Denise Lee

CEO Office, Intern, Sustainable Development Technology Canada

James Littley

Member, BC Water Funders Collaborative

Kat Kavanagh

Executive Director and Founder, Water Rangers (AquaHacking Alumni, 2015)

Marta Green

Senior Hydrogeologist, Associated Environmental Consultants

Mélissa Dick

AquaHacking Alumni and AquaEntrepreneur Program Manager, AquaAction

Merrell-Ann Phare

Commissioner, International Joint Commission

Pauline Gerrard

Deputy Director, IISD-ELA

Ragwa Gopal

President and CEO, Innovate BC


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.