Water Experts and Software Developers Hack Future of Water
Winning application built to protect the St. Lawrence River announced at #AquaHacking Summit.

If software is eating the world, surely it must also be able to provide a solution to protect and preserve fresh water. That’s the aim of AquaHacking, an initiative that puts “sustainable governance and technological innovation to work for water.”

On Oct. 6-7, more than 300 researchers, non-profits, government and software developers met in Montreal to discuss water-related issues–the St. Lawrence River in particular–as well as hear from developers who are building web and mobile applications to tackle them.

AquaHacking is an initiative put on by the de Gaspé Beaubien Foundation and is sponsored by IBM in Canada. More of a movement than an event, #AquaHacking takes place over many months and culminates in a two-day summit event where developers present the apps and tools they’ve built.

This year, 27 teams competed for $50,000 in cash prizes and hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of cloud technology and services from IBM Canada and IBM’s Global Entrepreneur Program.

Developers leveraged IBM Bluemix to build apps, along with mountains of data (see the bottom of the page here for Git links and downloadable files), including data from:

  • Environment Canada
  • The City of Montreal
  • Montreal Smart and Digital City
  • St. Lawrence Global Observatory
  • Ministry of Sustainable Development Environment
  • Fight Against Climate Change

The 27 teams were shortlisted to five who presented to the crowd at the #AquaHacking Summit on Oct. 7. The five teams and their proposed solutions were:

  1. Dronoflow, a project that uses drones to capture data, take aerial photography and draw water samples for scientific analysis
  2. eFish, a project that provides info and shares data to people fishing, along with maps of waterways and access points
  3. H2EAU, a project that promotes exploration and protection of river assets for educational and recreational use
  4. Info-Baignade Montréal, a project that provides an early-warning system and tracks risk of microbiological contamination (SAP Micro) in order to predict swimmers against contaminated waters
  5. Solutions to Innovate, a project that leverages a system of flexible, modular piers that are designed to prevent erosion of riverbanks

While all teams won widespread applause from the event there could only be one winner:

The jury was made up of: