The Water Research And Innovation Network (WRAIN) has wrapped up its successful first year. WRAIN is a collaborative effort by industry leaders, economic development professionals, research centres, and all levels of government, working together to identify and solve water issues in the City of Kawartha Lakes, Ontario. WRAIN also involves a joint-effort by more than 30 companies and manages 250 lakes, six wastewater plants, and 21 water treatment facilities. It helps companies create innovative products and services, including real time data monitoring, phosphorous removal, aquatic weed control, greywater solutions, and alternative industrial water and wastewater treatment.
The area’s economy has been boosted as a result of water-related projects employing local businesses, workers, and construction contractors. For example, according to Lance Sherk, director of economic development for the City of Kawartha Lakes, “The WRAIN board of directors set a goal to have 11 demonstration projects running by September. If these first projects are indicators of future projects, WRAIN has the potential to contribute 11 new jobs and $1 million to the local economy this year, not including those that might result [in] having one or more of these companies set up a location in Kawartha Lakes.”
Based on these first year successes, nine individuals from the City of Kawartha Lakes will be participating in a new study by the Ministry of Economic Development, Trade & Employment to evaluate the economic impact the water sector is making within the Province of Ontario. —Kristen Curtis