Alberta’s population is expected to double by 2050. Even with the progress made in water conservation, efficiency, and productivity, demand for water will continue to increase due to population growth, increased recreational use, and economic expansion. At the same time, climate change induced variability and human activity will impact the health of Alberta’s aquatic ecosystems. There are few, if any other places on the globe where so many of the water challenges exist within a single political jurisdiction. Our priority is to make certain Alberta has the quality and quantity of water, when and where it’s needed into the future.

Alberta Innovates Water Innovation Program (WIP) is a flagship program for the Government of Alberta focused on the advancement of knowledge and innovation in support of the Water for Life Strategy and Alberta’s Water Research and Innovation Strategy and has the following goals:

  • Building projects to enhance scientific understanding and developing best practices in managing water security, risk and vulnerability
  • Ensuring excellence in watershed stewardship and ecosystem management
  • Developing energy efficient technologies for increased water conservation, efficiency and productivity

Projects supported through WIP fall under four key themes: (1) future water supply and watershed management; (2) healthy aquatic ecosystems; (3) water use conservation, efficiency, and productivity; and (4) water quality protection.

Water Innovation Project Themes

Theme 1: Future Water Supply and Watershed Management
All major rivers in Alberta derive their water from the Rockies. Glaciers and snow packs in the Rockies have been and will continue to be affected by global warming. The ability of the Rockies to continue to provide a stable water supply to Alberta’s river systems and watersheds in the coming decades should be clearly understood and quantified. Irrigation in Southern Alberta completely depends on water availability in the Southern Saskatchewan River Basin, and the oil sands industry heavily relies on the Athabasca River. Climate change adds another dimension in water supply and management. It can increase the frequencies of extreme weather conditions such as drought and flooding. Watershed management becomes more critical with unstable and less predictable water supply.

Theme 2: Healthy Aquatic Ecosystems
Alberta’s growing population and economy, coupled with increasing impacts from a variable climate and global warming will further impact the health of aquatic ecosystems. Eutrophication of lakes, wetlands conservation, and potential contamination in the Lower Athabasca are among the key concerns.

Theme 3: Water Use Conservation, Efficiency, and Productivity
The conservation, efficiency and productivity (CEP) of water use can have a major impact in all sectors: agriculture (irrigation), municipal, and industry. In irrigation and oil sands in situ recovery (SAGD), significant improvement in CEP has been made in the last decade. Yet, more progress can be done in these areas. A greater effort needs to be made in municipal water use, oil sands surface mining, and power sectors.

Theme 4: Water Quality Protection
Safeguarding Alberta’s water supplies will require an improved understanding of the distribution and occurrence of pathogens and contaminants (including metals, pesticides and other organic contaminants) in both surface and groundwater. While large urban areas are currently well served by their drinking water and wastewater treatment systems, aging infrastructure and a rapidly growing population will continue to put pressures on these systems. Rural Albertans and aboriginal communities are in critical need of a focused approach to their unique water security issues.

Funding

WIP funds research projects in support of safe, secure drinking water, healthy aquatic ecosystems, and reliable, quality water supplies for a sustainable economy.

Project funding is available through a continuous intake process and calls for proposals. Applications will be deferred to a call for proposals where applicable.

FUNDING PROCESS

Continuous intake

2018 WIP Call for Proposals
(in development)

FUNDING RANGE

up to $1 MM (project dependent)

TBD

APPLICATION DEADLINE

Ongoing

Call for expressions of interest expected July 2018

NOTIFICATION TIMELINES

Approval timelines vary, ~4 months from application to funding decision

Funding decision expected February 2019

APPLICATION PACKAGE

Vicki Lightbown 780.638.4343
vicki.lightbown[at]albertainnovates.ca

In development

Current Projects

The following projects are currently being funded by the Water Innovation Program.

Theme 3: Water Use Conservation, Efficiency, and Productivity
Project Title
2331 Oil Sands Produced Water Treatment by Electrocoagulation
2336 Evaluating Microbial Risks Associated with Stormwater Management and Reuse in Alberta
1910* Development of De-Oiling and Pre-Concentration Solutions for SAGD Produced Water
2145* Development of a high efficiency mechanical vapour compression (MVC) evaporator for SAGD application
2293* NSERC Industrial Research Chair IRC for Colleges in Oil Sands In Situ Steam Generation
2396* Transitioning from Prototype to Production: The AC Pipe Scanner
2397* EOR Produced Water Recycling
*Project summary not available at this time, for more information contact Vicki Lightbown 780-638-4343 or vicki.lightbown[at]albertainnovates.ca
Theme 4: Water Quality Protection
Project Title
2393 Ponoka Lagoon Utilization Project
2399 Decentralized Wastewater Treatment by Resource Recovery
2074* Perceptions of Water Quality Among Rural Albertans and Association with Livestock
2083* Natural and Anthropogenic Influences to Groundwater and Surface Water Environments of the Lower Athabasca Region
2199* Assessing Water Quality, Microbial Risk and Waterborne Pathogens in Rural Alberta Using a One Health Framework
2385* Drinking water supply after severe wildfire in Alberta: Assessing initial risks and treatment technology resilience.
*Project summary not available at this time, for more information contact Vicki Lightbown 780-638-4343 or vicki.lightbown[at]albertainnovates.ca

Past Projects

Theme 1: Future Water Supply and Watershed Management
Project Title
1854* Rivers for Life: Advancing Instream Flow Assessment Tools and Policy
2015* Evaluation of Existing Legal Instruments to Promote Integrated Water Management Decision Making
2065* Climate Vulnerability and Sustainable Water Management in the SSRB – Part of the Watershed Stewardship and Ecosystem Management Focus Area
2073* Sustainable urban water management in the context of climate variability and change
2075* Quantifying Groundwater Recharge for Sustainable Water Resource Management
2077* Predicting Alberta’s Water Future (PAWF)
2096* Towards Integrated Source Water Management in Alberta
2287* Sustainable Water Management in The Athabasca River Basin Initiative (The ARB Initiative) – Phase 2
*Project summary not available at this time, for more information contact Vicki Lightbown 780-638-4343 or vicki.lightbown[at]albertainnovates.ca
Theme 2: Healthy Aquatic Ecosystems
Project Title
2013* Wetland Assessment Handbook, A “How to” Guide for Evaluating Marsh Wetlands as Part of Oil Sands Mining Reclamation
2068* Functional Flows: A Practical Strategy for Healthy Rivers
2078* Enhancing accessibility and use of Alberta’s natural water recreation areas through prevention of swimmer’s itch transmission
2079* Assessing the Ecological Impacts of Water Extraction on Stream Hydrology and Alberta’s Fish Community Structure and Function
2094* Sustainable Wetland Habitat: Reclamation Targets, Design Criteria and Wetland Policy Implementation
2297* Alberta Land Institute – Wetlands Research Strategy for Alberta
*Project summary not available at this time, for more information contact Vicki Lightbown 780-638-4343 or vicki.lightbown[at]albertainnovates.ca
Theme 3: Water Use Conservation, Efficiency, and Productivity
Project Title
2022* High Pressure De-Oiling of SAGD Produced Water
2066* Water Reuse In Alberta: Case Studies and Policy Development to Support Continuing Economic Development
2072* Redevelopment and enhancement of the Irrigation Demand Model as a tool for basin water management
2114* Expanding Wastewater Reuse in Alberta Through Application of a Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment Framework
2175* Ceramic Membrane Deoiling and Desilication
*Project summary not available at this time, for more information contact Vicki Lightbown 780-638-4343 or vicki.lightbown[at]albertainnovates.ca
Theme 4: Water Quality Protection
Project Title
2330 Septic Sense
2063* Investigation of the occurrence of pesticides in groundwater of Southern Alberta
2076* Advanced approaches to dealing with water disinfection byproducts
2081* Arsenic in Rural Alberta’s Ground Water
2082* Baseline Isotope Geochemistry of Alberta Groundwater
*Project summary not available at this time, for more information contact Vicki Lightbown 780-638-4343 or vicki.lightbown[at]albertainnovates.ca

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