The Vancouver Island Technology Park (VITP) has welcomed the Alberta Research Council (ARC) as its newest tenant.  ARC has opened its first British Columbia-based office at VITP to access Victoria’s intellectual resources and expertise in water management, and to stimulate new opportunities for technology development and transfer across western Canada.

ARC has a water management research and development team in Calgary, which has been focusing on ground and surface water monitoring, characterization and advanced management planning. Now, ARC will build on regional expertise and introduce a new capacity for emerging technologies, says ARC senior hydrologist and University of Victoria research professor Dr. John Gibson.

“We are using technologies such as isotope tracers, which will help manage and balance water supply needs for industry while maintaining a safe, secure and sustainable supply of water for people and the ecosystem,” says Dr. Gibson, who leads the water management research and development at the new ARC isotope laboratory.

The VITP location also provides ARC with access to a large number of B.C. government and university collaborators, and creates a more visible platform to seek industrial partnerships in B.C, the Pacific Northwest, and the Pacific Rim. “Having a high-tech water research team in Victoria will enable ARC to build regional, national and global partnerships,” says ARC vice-president of Life Sciences Shawn Gervais.

The lab provides new opportunities for graduate students seeking advanced training in isotope-based water sciences.

The ARC facility is currently investigating water ecosystem issues such as the impact of the Fort McMurray oil sands on sustainability of lakes, rivers, and groundwater supplies in the region. Dr. Gibson says this research is an example of a successful program that has fostered long-term partnerships with both government and industry. “We hope to build new partnerships in B.C. and find sustainable solutions for western Canada,” he says.

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