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Using tech to fight drought in Alberta

Alberta’s largest innovation agency, Alberta Innovates, has invested more than $75 million through its Water Innovation Program, supporting 101 completed projects, with 65 more in the works. All 166 projects represent a total project value of more than $256 million. These projects are helping researchers and industry accelerate the development of new technology that will deliver safe, secure drinking water to communities and promote healthy aquatic ecosystems.

Water Innovation Program projects that come under environment technologies are funded under four themes: future water supply and watershed management; healthy aquatic ecosystems; water conservation, efficiency and productivity; and water quality protection. As the province faces a risk of extreme drought, these technologies are more important than ever.

“Technology is driving innovation in every industry. Each project supported through this funding will help us bring real-world solutions to real-world problems, that include a high-performing responsive waste management system for our province.”

Nate Glubish, Minister of Technology and Innovation
“We are investing in innovation and technologies that will help us maximize Alberta’s water supply to fight drought. These innovative projects are part of our work to modernize and transform how water is used in this province, finding new and better ways to manage, conserve and use our most precious resource.”

Rebecca Schulz, Minister of Environment and Protected Areas
One of the technologies, developed at the University of Alberta uses a granular sludge reactor to increase the amount of processed water that can be reused and recycled. It will also increase the performance and capacity of municipal water treatment facilities. The project is currently being piloted at a City of Calgary wastewater treatment plant and is showing promise.

As Alberta continues to diversify its economy, innovations like these are critical. They will not only help create a cleantech industry for water treatment but also improve the province’s marketability and competitiveness with these technologies for a global market.

“Water is always taken for granted until such time as there is none. The Water Innovation Program creates the knowledge and technologies to help ensure a safe, secure and reliable water supply, so our communities, businesses, farms and ecosystems have the water they need now and into the future.”

Laura Kilcrease, CEO, Alberta Innovates
"The University of Alberta is committed to bringing our expertise to bear to address the grand challenges of our time. We are pleased to be working once again with Alberta Innovates and the Government of Alberta, as well as other collaborators, to accelerate the development of key technologies that will ensure Albertans can rely on a clean water supply today and for generations to come."  

Aminah Robinson Fayek, vice-president (Research and Innovation), University of Alberta 
Working with the government, Alberta Innovates supports resource and technology companies, small- and medium-sized enterprises, and post-secondary institutions in research, technology development and commercialization.

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