Year in Review

The SOWC Guelph Wastewater event hosted more than 125 attendees eager to learn more about the platform

2013 has been a very busy and exciting year for the SOWC. Over the past 12 months, we have been working hard to deliver a platform for water technology research, development, demonstration and testing needs. We have also focused on engaging potential users, partners and collaborators, and communicating with government, industry and academic researchers.

We achieved many milestones this year in the development of the platform including pilot use of the platform, engagement events and communication outreach; each of these are highlighted below.

Pilot Use of the Platform

Watershed Research

Watershed testing at Alder Creek played a vital role in several pilots that took place over the year

Through collaborative efforts and partnerships, several pilots were run with different nodes of the SOWC to prepare for users after launch in April 2014. Some highlights:

  • Primodal Inc. became the first SOWC user to access Grand River Conservation Authority monitoring stations with a project to demonstrate a new real-time water monitoring and data evaluation product in a real-world environment
  • SOWC researchers piloted a sophisticated data platform supported with IBM software that will help our world become ‘smarter’ when it comes to watershed management
  • SOWC, Solinst Canada Ltd. and IBM Canada tested new communications software at Alder Creek, a sub-watershed of the Grand River, which will make sensor networks more intelligent by being able to interact and ‘talk’ to each other across the watershed
  • Communitech, through its DATA.BASE program, led a project with exactEarth, a southern Ontario-based data services company and subsidiary of COM DEV Canada, to test the use of micro-satellites in water resource management and assess the market potential for such applications
  • The CFB Borden site grew to increase capacity for testing technology for groundwater remediation, in partnership with SOWC

Engagement Events

Brenda Lucas Panel Discussion

SOWC Operations Manager Brenda Lucas leads a panel at the ‘Smarter Watershed Management’ SOWC Watershed Node Event

To further profile the developing SOWC platform and engage users, a series of node events took place in 2013 that highlighted each node’s specific expertise and capacity, and profiled the opportunities for universities, private industry, municipalities and not-for-profit organizations to work together to commercialize market-driven water technologies. The events hosted up to 125 attendees eager to learn more.

An Analytical and Ecotoxicology node event was co-hosted with Wilfrid Laurier University focusing on water research taking place at the university and capacity within both nodes. McMaster University co-hosted a Sensors Node event that profiled SOWC and local partners on the ongoing work within the sensors field focused on water quality.

The University of Guelph co-hosted a Wastewater event highlighting the SOWC’s Guelph Wastewater Facility, which will enable demonstration of treatment technologies by providing users with access to various streams of ‘live’ sewage from the municipal treatment plant just next door. Finally, the University of Waterloo co-hosted a Watershed Node event entitled ‘Smarter Watershed Management.’ The event provided a comprehensive overview of the unique infrastructure being constructed within the watershed node of SOWC and of the data platform being created in collaboration with IBM Canada.

During each event, it was stressed that through these collaborative efforts, it is anticipated the SOWC project will lead to the creation of many high-quality jobs resulting from the growth of existing companies, creation of new companies, and the expansion of public sector jobs in the water industry.

Continuing with outreach, representatives from SOWC took part in a wide variety of summits, conferences and events in 2013 including, but not limited to, presenting at WEFTEC, participating in a panel at OCE Discovery 2013 in Toronto, and acting as a moderator at the World Water Tech Summit.

During water industry conferences and summits this year, we were provided opportunities to speak with a North American and international audience to detail SOWC projects taking place across the platform, and discuss opportunities to collaborate. These conferences were ideal opportunities not only to build and strengthen ties within Ontario, North America and across the global water sector, but to help showcase Ontario as a world leader in water technology innovation.

Communication Outreach

Video Shoot

Filming took place at the University of Guelph’s wastewater labs for an Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Employment video highlighting SOWC within Ontario’s water sector

To keep the SOWC network informed and engaged in the platform, different forms of communication outreach were undertaken during 2013 including video segments, digital newsletter outreach and website optimization.

SOWC took part in several videos over the year. The Sensors Node event was highlighted by Hamilton Economic Development through a short video segment focusing on the importance of ongoing projects and regional partnerships within the Consortium.

We were featured in a video for the Globe and Mail’s “Canada Competes” section, highlighting the partnership with IBM to develop a ‘smarter watershed’ data platform.

SOWC was also featured in one of a series of videos by the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Employment showcasing Ontario as an ideal location to do business for companies involved in any aspect of the water industry. With Ontario being home to world-leading water companies, facilities and researchers, this is certainly true.

The general reach of the SOWC has also grown over 2013. Our newsletter distribution list has tripled; more people are reading updates on the platform through the SOWC newsletter “Thinking Down Stream” than ever before.

In addition to this, the SOWC website has garnered much traffic over the last year. Averaging close to 1,000 unique visitors per month, each spending an average of three minutes on the site, has seen over 26,000 page views in 2013. With the majority of the traffic coming from Ontario, viewers have also been recorded from coast-to-coast across Canada and around the world including Israel, Singapore, India and the Netherlands.

See you in 2014

We would like to thank our sponsors, partners, collaborators, and in general, everyone who is engaged and has made 2013 and amazing year for the platform. The entire SOWC team is looking forward to continuing this momentum into the New Year. Have a safe and happy holiday season and remember to visit for the latest news and updates on happenings from around the SOWC network in 2014.