Our next Cleantech Coast to Coast Road Trip stop is Montreal – one of Canada’s most vibrant cities. For those who love poutine, Montreal smoked meat, and Cirque du Soleil, Montreal is where it’s at. The city is also a global hub for Artificial Intelligence (AI). We just had to visit with CANN Forecast and checked out their use of AI for water management. 



A water-focused hackathon in Montreal five years ago was the launch pad for an exciting new business idea. Naysan Saran is the CEO and co-founder of CANN Forecast, which has developed tools for municipalities that use AI for better water management.

In 2016, Saran and her co-founder Nicolas Fortin St-Gelais came up withcann_forecast a machine learning model called InteliSwim and tested it on the St. Lawrence River for sewage overflows. Looking at historical rainfall and wastewater data, they could accurately determine down to the hour, the probability amount of E. Coli bacteria in the water. And their system could predict the quality of water samples 24 hours faster than the current system. This improved the City of Montreal’s ability to identify safe spaces for people to enjoy beaches in the region.

The City of Montreal’s wastewater department awarded them a contract, and CANN Forecast was born. InteliSwim is now used for almost all urban beaches in Quebec plus two in Toronto.

Their next solution focused on preventing water main breaks. Approximately 850 water pipes fail each year across North America, which results in repairs that cost more than $3 billion. Saran and Fortin St-Gelais created a second product, Intelipipes, which uses machine learning to predict water main breaks. 

Today, 15 municipalities are working with their InteliPipes system, helping to identify risky pipes before they break. This is a solution without borders: CANN Forecast has plans to expand across Canada and into Europe.

Written By:

Kris Hodgson-Bright

Kris supports Foresight’s blog posts, thought leadership papers, and programming content. His background includes nine years instructing courses in the Digital Communications and Media and Multimedia Production diploma programs, 20 years in the media industry, five years in economic development, and three years in community capacity building encouraging renewable energy adoption.

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