NEWS & ARTICLES

Canada’s Aging Water Infrastructure: The Solutions are Out There

March 23, 2021

Canadian watertech company Sawback Technologies is using drone technology to explore underground water infrastructure and help solve one of Canada’s biggest water challenges.

A Problem for All of Us

Canada’s aging water infrastructure is a $60 billion problem that is putting our future at risk.

Replacing and modernizing Canada’s water infrastructure (while adjusting to climate change and assuring clean, safe water to all) isn’t the type of challenge that you can solve by simply applying approaches from the past. And it won’t be solved by a single solution. The scope and scale of this water problem requires creative thinking, investment, and the scale-up and adoption of multiple innovative water technology solutions.

We need the whole water ecosystem across Canada to be energized, engaged, and looking at the problem from multiple angles.

Searching for Leaks

One important question is how we allocate limited resources. We know that infrastructure needs replacing, but which pipes will last for many more years? Which ones are leaking (or are about to leak) and should be replaced immediately? It’s difficult to know, especially when water lines and equipment are underground.

Sawback Technologies in Calgary, AB helps water utilities answer these questions through near- sensing technologies (often attached to drones or other platforms), that can be used to proactively detect and prevent leaks. This helps water utilities and infrastructure owners avoid costly repairs and plan upgrades more strategically.

Water loss is also a significant problem across Canada. Approximately 13% of the water withdrawn by Canadian municipal water suppliers is lost before it reaches final users. And it’s a global problem too. In the US, over 2 trillion gallons of water per year is lost in leakage, enough to submerge all of Manhattan in 300 feet of water.

Investing in the Future

Companies like Sawback Technologies that are able to look at a big problem and tackle it in creative and cost-effective ways show us the future of Canadian water tech. They are vital players in an exciting and growing network of water related startups and SME’s driving innovation and solving pressing water problems, not only in Canada, but in markets around the world.

And investors are seeing the possibilities in these problem-solving companies – Sawback has two paid pilot projects set to launch in April 2021 and recently signed with a lead investor they met through an ACTia/Foresight Cleantech Matchmaking Event earlier this year.

Thinking Like a Drone

Sawback’s drone technology is able to observe large areas, hone in on problems before they happen, and offer intelligent data-driven answers to difficult questions – exactly the type of innovation we need. The emerging waterNEXT ecosystem aims to support innovate companies like Sawback in developing the next generation of Canadian water technologies and solutions. 

Strategic investments, intelligent sensing and data systems, and an energized ecosystem – the future of water is just around the corner.

Want to explore Canada’s water industry? Check out the waterNEXT Ecosystem Map, a data-driven, searchable map of Canada’s water organizations, companies and solution providers.