Water Rangers & Aquahacking in Montreal

Last Tuesday I was lucky enough to speak at the Aquahacking press conference. They’re launching a new campaign for a river: the St. Lawrence in Montreal, and want to get more people involved in protecting our fresh water.

Ottawa River was the start…

Water Rangers came out of last year’s Aquahacking competition, where our prototype, River Ranger, tied for first place. Since then, we reformulated our team, changed the name (Water Rangers, to make sure lakes and streams are included!), recoded the entire platform and began designing and building new features, all based on user feedback. We’ve also made lots of new contacts and partnerships: we know adoption is the key to success! I was invited to come to Montreal and speak about my experiences with the app since the competition. It was great to see the de Gaspé Beaubien family, who remain dedicated to their mission: promote technology to find solutions for fresh water. They spoke with me after my presentation, and were all really pleased with the progress we’ve made these past 8 months. I feel lucky to be associated with such a passionate family and hope to further foster that relationship.

Me presenting what Water Rangers is up to these days!
Me presenting what Water Rangers is up to these days!

Why the Fleuve St. Laurent?

Montreal is a beautiful island city, surrounded by fresh water, but it has also been surrounded by controversy this past year after it dumped a lot of waste water into the river. Because of public outcry, they delayed releasing the waste water. Their poor forward planning meant they had no choice. Part of this initiative is to create tools that will give city planners more choices so they can choose well. With public support to improve matters, it’s the perfect hosting city for coming up with great new solutions.

With Quebec's Environment Minister, David Heurtel. Love his energy and enthusiasm!
With Quebec’s Environment Minister, David Heurtel. Love his energy and enthusiasm!

So many great people…

I was lucky enough to meet with David Heurtel, Environment Minister for Quebec, who eloquently spoke about a hopeful environmental future for Montreal. I was also lucky to speak with city planners, foundation sponsors, interested scientists, and the media. It was a packed room and excitement levels were high. I look forward to the main event in October!

In the news!

Part of my talk was featured on CTV Montreal News. I was talking about the importance of tracking ice on-off, and how this year’s warm winter will mean the spring will be warmer. She also asked me questions about hacking. Strange questions, but I suppose the average citizen doesn’t know what hackathons are!