By Nathan Rudyk

Canada's fast becoming a go-to country, if not THE go-to country. Our friends at The Consider Canada City Alliance say the IMF and OECD expect Canada to lead all G7 countries in economic growth. The World Economic Forum has ranked Canadian banks the soundest in the world for the fifth consecutive year. And today we're proud to be promoting the fact that Ontario – Canada's most populous province – is the number one water patent jurisdiction, according to the Water Technology Acceleration Project (WaterTAP)

Why is water important? In Canada, "it just comes out of taps". Clean and abundant, it just comes. Yet the United Nations states that nearly 800 million people do not have access to clean water and almost 2.5 billion do not have access to adequate sanitation. More than 80% of the world's water that has been used by humans is not treated in any way, and the World Water Organization says global water demand is doubling every 20 years and by 2025 demand will exceed supply by 56%.

So water matters. And Ontario's position as the place in the world where more water patents flow from than any other really, really matters.

A municipal example of water industry synergy within the Ontario Clean Technology Alliance is the City of Burlington, located in Halton Region on the shores of Lake Ontario. The city is home to the Canada Centre for Inland Waters, Wastewater Technology Centre and the birthplace of Zenon Environmental before its purchase by General Electric in 2006. Today, General Electric Water & Process Technologies occupies one-third of the Centre’s 5,500 square metre space for ongoing R&D. Specialized facilities include research and operational laboratories, in-house pilot plant demonstration facilities for wastewater and biosolids processing and advanced treatment, mechanical workshop and warehouse facilities, and an on-line sewage loop from an adjacent wastewater treatment plant.

Burlington is also home to 253 water-related businesses including Anaergia (global head office), Eco Waste Solutions (North American Head Office), and Endress and Hauser Canada Ltd. (Canadian head office).

Ontario’s deep pool of water expertise also includes:

  • The Hamilton-based United Nations University – Institute for Water, Environment and Health, which acts as the UN’s think-tank on water
  • The Burlington-based National Water Research Institute, which is the largest fresh water science organization in Canada
  • The Waterloo-based Canadian Water Network, that connects Canadian and international water researchers with decision-makers engaged in water management issues
  • The University of Waterloo-based Water Institute, an internationally recognized water research leader

Ontario-based WaterTAP helps connect global companies with the resources they need to successfully enter water technology markets. Along with representatives of the Ontario Clean Technology Alliance ­– a collective of regional and municipal economic development organizations across Ontario – WaterTAP executives are attending IFAT 2014, the world’s leading trade fair for water, sewage, waste and raw materials management, in München, Germany. Their objective is to invite more international companies to take advantage of an Ontario ecosystem that is supported by dedicated research centres, incubators, accelerators and programs that encourage innovative water and wastewater technologies and services.

“WaterTAP exists to champion and support Ontario’s status as a world water technology hub. The WaterTAP team brings private sector experience to the challenge of helping water technology entrepreneurs, utilities and investors make the connections and find the resources they need to keep our water sector prospering,” said Dr. Brian Mergaelas, WaterTAP’s Chief Executive Officer.

“WaterTAP also encourages Ontario’s municipal water utilities to tackle common challenges together to provide guidance and market pull for innovative products and services,” said Sean Dyke, Director – Southwestern Ontario Marketing Alliance, and Chair of the Ontario Clean Technology Alliance.

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(Nathan Rudyk is President and CEO with market2world communications inc., the public relations and marketing agency for global innovators.)