Today, the Southern Ontario Water Consortium hosted an event to showcase the success of 35 companies under its Advancing Water Technologies (AWT) program. Launched in 2016 with support from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), the AWT program has committed more than $10 million to 60 projects, advancing the commercial readiness of Ontario water technologies and supporting almost 200 jobs.
According to the Consortium’s executive director, Brenda Lucas, the program has addressed a significant need. “It’s a big jump to take a breakthrough from the lab bench to the marketplace,” she said. “The AWT program is designed to help private sector water technology innovators leverage the world-class research facilities and academic expertise we have here in Ontario, so they can commercialize their ideas faster.”
“The AWT program illustrates what we can achieve through strategic collaboration. Water is one of the most essential resources on the planet,” said Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Minister responsible for FedDev Ontario and Member of Parliament for Mississauga–Malton. “With support from the federal government and access to research and academic resources, innovators are developing and bringing water technology solutions to market faster to help us better protect, manage, and recover this important resource.”
The showcased results demonstrate the program’s effectiveness. Of the companies displaying their technologies, products included those designed to improve drinking water quality, treat sewage, and manage stormwater, among other solutions. Representatives from a number of municipalities across the province were keen to learn how the proposed approaches could reduce costs, cut energy consumption, or even generate revenue by recovering resources. From recovering biogas from sewage, mining acoustic data from fire hydrant sensors to identify potential leaks, and developing residential greywater systems that dramatically shrink household water consumption.
“Ontario municipalities face all kinds of water challenges and they take very seriously their role in managing water effectively and efficiently,” said Lucas. “Today, we saw lots of interest from them in supporting both the piloting and adoption of these AWT-funded technologies.”
Ontario is home to more than 900 water companies, from startups to multinationals. It is also home to significant academic expertise in this field, including 42 Canada Research Chairs. Altogether, approximately 22,000 Ontarians are employed in the water sector.