ground-breaking wastewater filtration technology launched by Edmonton-based company, Swirltex, is just one of 49 projects the Alberta Innovates Water Innovation Program (WIP) invested in last year.

According to the Town of Ponoka, Swirltex's wastewater innovation will help support population growth at a lower energy cost than its current treatment system. This project exemplifies a province-wide demand for water innovations given population increase, economic growth, and changing water needs.

Alberta has flowed $36.2 million to WIP projects related to future water supply and watershed management; healthy aquatic ecosystems; water use conservation, efficiency, and productivity and water quality protection. Even with the progress made in water conservation, efficiency, and productivity, demand for water continues to increase. At the same time, climate change-induced variability and human activity will impact the health of our 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. We are working on responsible water and natural resource management systems that address our present-day challenges and look to the potential future given our population is expected to double by 2050.

Vicki Lightbown, Director, Water Innovation Program

WIP projects like Sustainable Water Management in the Athabasca River Basin are building on the strong foundations developed for water management through the province's Water for Life Strategy and Alberta's Water Research and Innovation Strategy. WIP has also directly or indirectly, supported more than 250 graduate students and postdoctoral researchers.

"Capacity is important to our innovation ecosystem. We need to attract and retain talent with the skills to work in our complex water resource environment. Whether our graduates go on to pursue leading-edge research or technological innovations they will support the needs of Alberta's water resource system," says Lightbown.

As a flagship program for the Government of Alberta WIP is making certain our province has the quality and quantity of water, when and where it's needed into the future.