Working together to preserve a precious resource

Recipient: SOWC (Southern Ontario Water Consortium)
Region: Southern Ontario
Program: Technology Development Program; Investing in Commercialization Partnerships
Total funding received: $31.5 million

The newly restored boardwalk at Cooper Marsh has revitalized a key nature attraction.
Using advanced testing sensor technology to monitor water quality is just one of the innovations supported by SOWC.

As Canadians, we deeply value the preservation of our precious resources. We hold one fifth of the world’s fresh water supply, and with that comes the responsibility to protect it, which is something the SOWC (Southern Ontario Water Consortium) recognized with the launch of its platform to support the development of water-related technolgies. With the help of funding received through FedDev Ontario’s Technology Development Program and Investing in Commercialization Partnerships initiatives, SOWC has created a unique infrastructure for research and development and is helping to position southern Ontario as a world leader in water treatment technologies.

“FedDev Ontario funding was crucial to creating the world-class demonstration facilities that are now part of the SOWC network,” says Brenda Lucas, Executive Director of SOWC. “And renewed funding has allowed us to create a funding program that supports Ontario companies in partnering with an academic expert to develop a project to address pre-commercial barriers and get their product to market quicker.”

SOWC began in 2011 with eight Ontario universities and a number of key partners, including the cities of London and Guelph, the Grand River Conservation Authority and IBM Canada, as well as FedDev Ontario. The consortium’s ultimate goal is to ensure southern Ontario’s global leadership in water technology innovation by creating unique research and testing capacity. SOWC also aims to connect businesses with research expertise across a growing network to advance and enable the adoption of new approaches and technologies for water management, monitoring and treatment.

“The unique infrastructure that was the focus of the first SOWC project has been built and is in active use by researchers and companies,” says Lucas. “SOWC has attracted new post-secondary partners and companies and has continued to solidify its reputation for effectively supporting the advancement of new technologies. Our greatest achievement is having created a new funding program with support from FedDev Ontario, and getting 14 company-led collaborative demonstration projects underway in 2016 through that program.”

All in all, with the work being done by SOWC, southern Ontario is advancing water innovation and is helping municipalities better manage their wastewater, improve water quality and reduce energy consumption in treatment plants. And while this is great news for Canada, this new technology has the potential to become significant on a global scale. And it all leads to a more sustainable environment—an outcome that benefits everyone.

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FedDev Ontario funding was crucial to creating the world-class demonstration facilities that are now part of the SOWC network.
Brenda Lucas, Executive Director, SOWC