Justin Trudeau announced the $12 million pledge at the University of Waterloo on Jan. 14, 2016 (Courtesy the University of Waterloo).

Justin Trudeau announced the $12 million pledge at the University of Waterloo on Jan. 14, 2016 (Courtesy the University of Waterloo).

The federal government has committed up to $12 million in funding towards creating new clean water technologies with the Southern Ontario Water Consortium (SOWC), which Ryerson University is a part of.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the commitment Jan. 14 during his visit to the University of Waterloo, the lead partner of the SOWC. As a member of the SOWC, Ryerson will have access to these funds to create innovative technologies that will support clean water efforts.

“Ryerson has a history of practical research and strong connections with the external water sector,” said Imogen Coe, dean of Ryerson’s faculty of science. “Ryerson’s physical location and applied research approach to finding solutions to real world problems positions the university to respond to practical opportunities such as this.”

Ryerson is one of the founding members of SOWC, which was established in 2011. The SOWC is made up of 10 post-secondary institutions that collaborate with private companies and academic researchers to help individual municipalities reduce their energy consumption in treatment plants and improve the water quality.

According to a release from the prime minister’s office, the funding is expected to help up to 90 businesses and not-for-profit organizations in southern Ontario through the development of up to 80 collaborative water projects. These projects include climate and watershed data platforms, sensors to detect pathogens and chemicals as well as groundwater remediation for watersheds. The investment also aims to create 14 new partnerships and 520 jobs across all partners.

“We welcome the investments in research and the commitment to solving some significant water issues around water quality and management for the economic development and benefit of Ontario,” said Coe.  

For Ryerson, the investment will help engineers and researchers solve urban water issues such as water destruction from floods and water withdrawal from watersheds. The SOWC has already developed physical infrastructure for testing with a few of the partners, such as Waterloo University and Guelph University.

Trudeau’s pledge to ensure a clean environment in Canada hasn’t gone unnoticed at Ryerson. “The Advancing Water Technologies Fund (a SOWC program) is an indicator of the new Liberal government’s commitment to technology and innovation,” said Coe.

This article was published in the print edition of the Ryersonian on Jan. 27, 2016.

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