Programmers, digital specialists and technically savvy people have long been putting their heads together to solve problems at events known as hackathons. We’re proud to say that Ottawa Riverkeeper played an important role in organizing Canada’s first hacking competition devoted to water.
Over the course of three months, dedicated teams of scientists, programmers, app developers and water lovers collaborated with mentors and field experts to build technological solutions for challenges facing the Ottawa River.
On May 30th, 15 teams of hackers pitched their innovative solutions at our Aquahacking event to a high-powered jury, presided by Alexandra Cousteau.
Our partnership with the de Gaspé Beaubien Foundation and IBM brought together citizens, programmers and scientists who believe in using technology to protect Canada’s waterways.
There were five winning teams at the event including Kat and Mark who have now co-founded a non-profit organization named Water Rangers. The organization will help turn swimmers, paddlers, anglers and other recreational water users into water stewards.
Kat’s family has had a cottage in the watershed for four generations. Her father tested water quality for the Federation of Lakes of Val-Des-Monts. Mark’s love for the river was ignited after his move to Ottawa from the United States. He began volunteering on shoreline cleanups, swimming and biking by the river.
Becoming a water steward is easy with the Water Ranger app because it allows you to report observations of invasive species, garbage, pollution and water quality data. Their website makes your observations accessible to anyone, allowing stewards like you throughout the watershed to compare conditions and share insights about river health.
The Water Rangers team is working closely with Ottawa Riverkeeper to build an app that will work in the Ottawa River Watershed and beyond. This open, collaborative, and simple tool makes demanding change on the Ottawa River easier and more transparent than before. It launches this spring, when the snow melts.