Water Innovation

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Sustaining Alberta’s water supply

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. Our Water Innovation Program’s priority is to make certain Alberta has the quality and quantity of water, when and where it is needed.

Funding and expertise to protect Alberta’s water 

Through four key sub-programs, we support the development of knowledge and technologies that will:

  1. Help to create a cleantech industry in water treatment;
  2. Have a 30 percent improvement in water use conservation, efficiency, and productivity by 2030; and
  3. Provide a safe, secure, and reliable water resources while maintaining the health of aquatic ecosystems. 

Four key areas

Future Water Supply and Watershed Management

All major rivers in Alberta derive their water from the Rockies. However, glaciers and snow packs 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. Because climate change can increase the frequency of extreme weather conditions, watershed management becomes more critical with unstable and less predictable water supply.

Healthy Aquatic Ecosystems

Alberta’s growing population, coupled with increasing impacts from climate change, 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.

Water Use Conservation, Efficiency, and Productivity 

The conservation, efficiency and productivity of water use can have a major impact in all sectors. Although there have been significant improvement in these areas, more progress needs to be done. A greater effort needs to be made in municipal water use, oil sands surface mining, and power sectors.

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 pressure on these systems. Rural Albertans and indigenous communities are in critical need of a focused approach to their unique water security issues. 

How project funding works

Most funding is provided through a combination of open competition and a continuous intake process. Contact the Program Director for more information.

This program is open to researchers, innovators, small and medium sized enterprises, large companies and consortia who are seeking funding, expertise and/or sector leadership to advance knowledge (for best practices, public policy and other outcomes) and technology (for commercialization and industrial use).