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Young Innovators Solving Critical Freshwater Issues

Source: AquaAction
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Water is the essence of life itself and is fundamental to the health of all Canadians as well as to our communities, ecosystems and economy. Canada may be a water-rich country, yet still we are facing a water crisis. With increasingly intense climate change impacts, water quality and quantity are impacted right across the country. Solutions have never been as urgently needed as they are now.   Now is the time to act and to innovate. It is time to TakeAquaAction. Here are the three brilliant start-ups behind the innovative solutions highlighted in this video series.

Water Rangers

Growing up on a lake in Quebec, Kat Kavanagh witnessed her father record observations related to the water quality and weather to monitor and protect the health of the lake. She was inspired to develop tools that would allow her father, and thousands of other environmental stewards, to accurately sample and record water quality and care for their local waterways.

Kat and her co-founders established Water Rangers in 2015. After winning 1st place in the inaugural AquaHacking Challenge, she and her team embarked on a journey to develop reliable water quality testing tools and a web platform that anyone and everyone could use to monitor the health of their local river, lake, or stream.

6 years later, Water Rangers has grown into a citizen science movement across Canada and beyond. More than 2,500 test kits have been distributed, over 200,000 data points have been recorded on the data platform, and more than 10,000 individuals have been trained on water quality sampling. The organization is also growing with increasing total revenue and number of employees allowing for capacity building.

To learn more about Water Rangers, visit their website.

Particuleye Technologies

The co-founders of Particuleye Technologies started as a team of enthusiastic students driven to help protect their waterways from plastic pollution. Quinn Desrochers, Michael Beck, Zach Gousseau, Waseem Jawad, and Ryan Tran all came from different backgrounds but in pooling together their diverse knowledge and expertise, they formed a strong multidisciplinary team that was ready to tackle environmental issues.

In participating in the Lake Winnipeg AquaHacking Challenge in 2020, they were provided a platform and support to develop their idea. After 8-months of research and prototype development, they pitched their machine learning technology which analyzes microplastics within water samples.

They won 1st place in the AquaHacking Challenge, and since then have continued to refine their tech solution. The team has recently partnered with Carleton University to beta test the Particuleye in their labs and publish a peer-reviewed article of the results. In fall 2021, they completed their first business trip to visit university researchers in Ontario and Quebec to demo their solution. Next steps for Particuleye Technologies include fine-tuning their machine learning tool to meet the needs of researchers and to sell their first units. They are also looking to connect with environmental regulators to better understand governmental needs for monitoring microplastics in water bodies.

To learn more about Particuleye Technologies, visit their website.

CANN Forecast

The cofounders of CANN Forecast, Naysan Saran and Nicolas Fortin St-Gelais, did not anticipate becoming entrepreneurs. They were experienced in their respective fields in computer programming and environmental science and were on trajectories to work within government and academia. However, upon entering the AquaHacking Challenge in 2016, they learned about the potential to develop technological solutions for the environment through business, and they were hooked.

Since winning 1st place in the AquaHacking Challenge in 2016, CANN Forecast has developed and brought to market two solutions for municipal managers responsible for recreational water quality and water main infrastructure. Using artificial intelligence, they have developed tech solutions that allow municipalities to more accurately manage when to open or close recreational swimming areas when threats of water contamination are present and to strategically plan their water main repairs.

CANN Forecast is working with over twenty municipalities in eastern Canada and with one in France. They are now looking to access new markets in western Canada and the United States.

To learn more about CANN Forecast, visit their website.

Click here to learn how you can support the development of water technology solutions by innovative entrepreneurs like Water Rangers, Particuleye Technologies, and CANN Forecast.