Collaborative Innovation Projects (or co-innovation projects) emerge as one of the outcomes of the Water Innovation Lab. The most innovative and promising projects receive ongoing support through being awarded seed grants, mentorship prizes and guidance from Waterlution and mentors to advance to proof of concept. Here are some projects highlighted from past WILs:

The Native Waters Network (Australia)


This team won a $5000 seed grant award from Water Services Association of Australia during WIL Australia and have gone ahead and conducted events in the US, Canada and Australia and are building their strategy. 

There is a gap when making decisions in water resource management between policy makers/ scientists, and Indigenous leaders in communities.  How can we increase Indigenous leadership in widespread mainstream water governance? This is one step in a long-term process and consists of bottom-up activities conducting local events led by Indigenous communities that invite water professionals to join in caring for local waterways and informally exchanging stories and knowledge. The local events will commence in Australia, Canada, and the United States. Events like waterway cleanups will include traditional ceremonial practices, water monitoring activities, and shared meals. The local events from different places will be linked to one another through an online platform to facilitate networking and learning between locations. Lasting goals include increasing Indigenous presence in the water sector and bridging gaps between Indigenous knowledge and the technical water sector.

FirstDrop – shifting attitudes towards drinking recycled water (Australia)


This project won a Jacobs $5000 mentorship award at WIL Australia. 

Communities lack understanding around the future of Melbourne’s drinking water supply and recycled water. How can communities be aware, informed and acceptant of alternative drinking water supply? FirstDrop is an awareness tool that permits a shift in attitudes towards drinking recycled water once the urgency, need, and science behind it is better understood via what is shared through this platform. It brings a future problem forward at the community level in a rational, relaxed way and engages community to take ownership of a future problem by actively seeking the solution in collaboration with the water utilities, without waiting for a high stress event to spark discussion.

Rain It In! – a student competition for flood management


This project that won a $5000 Durham College seed grant award has now launched its website and competition.

Rain It In! is addressing the problem of flooding being a growing concern, with intense and sporadic rainfall events becoming more common. This has many negative impacts such as wastewater bypasses, sewage back-ups, infrastructure damage, public safety risks, pollution of water bodies and more. It takes a multidisciplinary approach to work towards solving them through a student competition that invites student participants to create innovative, collaborative, aesthetically pleasing, and affordable solutions that address flooding and incorporates storm water harvesting concepts . The competition model is designed to empower young people to be part of climate change adaptation and action and showcase student innovation in Canadian colleges and universities skills, add to their portfolio when looking for careers and build relationships with their communities.

Paani – Multistage Water Treatment System in Maliya, India


Maliya is a small community on the salt flats of Gujarat, India which faces the challenge of accessing clean, safe drinking water. Our project aims to work with the community to implement a multistage water treatment system using locally available materials to produce biochar filter media. This project will provide the knowledge and training to empower the community to maintain, operate and share the water treatment system design with neighboring communities.

GreenLoo(p) – Sustainable Washrooms


The water-food-energy nexus is a large and complex challenge, but what if the interconnectivity of these three important parameters could be contained and demonstrated in one system?  The Green Loo[p] concept addresses pollution from open defecation in an ecologically sustainable system that is energy self-sufficient, reduces water demand with rainwater harvesting and wastewater reuse, and allows for local food production while reducing the urban heat island effect and increasing urban green space.