Water Rangers builds tools to empower anyone to learn about, test and act to protect freshwater. Through an open-data platform and simple water testkits, we are transforming water stewardship.
Water Rangers is a non-profit social enterprise, and their goal is to help communities collect water quality data and share the results publicly. They build tools to help communities learn about the water bodies we all love. Their free, open-data platform, water testing kits, and online course are tools for anyone to learn about and protect our lakes, rivers, and oceans. We checked in with their Executive Director & Designer, Kat Kavanagh, to see how they’re doing in the middle of the pandemic.
It’s possible that, though we’re just seven months in, 2020 has been the longest year of all time. What’s something that’s kept you positive in the last few months?
This year, our biggest win was becoming a part of CSI Climate Ventures’ Earth Tech program. We’re at the stage where we’ve proven that our model works, engages communities, and helps fill data gaps. What we really needed to do now is learn how to reach bigger audiences and scale throughout Canada. Through mentorship in this program, our growing team has learned so much. We’re maturing and growing up as an organization and building the capabilities to support more communities.
How has being part of the CSI community impacted your work?
Being a part of this community has taught me that I’m not alone; I’m not the only one trying to do business in a different way to better our planet. There is support in this community that cares about making sure the future is resilient and better for our environment. The people I’ve met are so optimistic and forward-thinking. Everyone helps create opportunities for us to learn from experts and connect us with partners, and I’m so grateful to be a part of it all.
I think my favourite CSI moment was the launch of the Earth Tech program. Seeing the skill and talent in that room made me realize I’m part of something bigger and need to up my game. There’s something about being around other incredible ventures that are similarly-minded and making a big difference in the social enterprise space; it’s very invigorating.
We’ve been checking in with our Members to see how they are coping with COVID-19. How did the pandemic affect your work?
We had so many events booked this summer! I was supposed to go to the Northwest Territories, throughout Eastern Ontario to support partner events, and Toronto to work with partners and communities. COVID-19 has forced me to prioritize future-proofing Water Rangers. Now, I’m considering how to grow the organization and create the processes that will help us scale to prepare us for opportunities as they come. I’m optimistic that we can use this as a chance to think about how to scale effectively.
And you do a lot of work online, right?
Yes! We’re also building more online resources, like online curricula, to support groups across Canada. We need digital tools to get this geographic reach and to weather the pandemic. As we try to build more resilience in water testing systems, I believe we’re in the right place as we consider how to move forward and rebuild our economies. It has been a little bit of a struggle at times. Overall, though, I’m so pleased that people are interested in protecting the environment in ways they weren’t before. People are aware that we have a unique opportunity to change the course of action for the environment’s future. It’s both hard and exciting.
Big question: what’s your pie-in-the-sky dream for a post-COVID world?
As a society, the way we’re monitoring water right now isn’t working. There are data deficiencies, data is lost when monitoring programs end, they’re expensive, and data isn’t shared effectively. This needs to change. A post-COVID world needs to consider creative solutions and be more sustainable in the long term to offer spaces to better protect water. There’s an aspect of justice in water monitoring – access to clean water, the outdoors, and a connection to our homes – and we need better tools to make sure participation in monitoring and conservation is equitable and accessible.
How can the CSI community support Water Rangers?
We’re always looking for new people to get involved in water testing. If you know of any organizations looking to monitor water, or have contacts that could help us expand, we’d love to connect to them. We’re looking forward to supporting more organizations, groups, and individuals in water stewardship!
Since 1992, international climate justice activists have been holding World Water Day to inspire thinking and action on the importance of water. The theme for 2020 is “Water and Climate Change” and explores how the two issues are inextricably linked.
That link is top of mind at CSI’s Climate Ventures, where we are operating a six month accelerator called Earth Tech. Participants are social entrepreneurs working on climate or freshwater technology solutions that will positively impact communities and ecosystems across Canada.
We still have time to stop and reverse global warming, and, in the process, give rise to the next economy – one that is just, carbon neutral, circular, and regenerative. Here are seven participants to learn about this World Water Day.
With their patented BioNanoCoil, a biopolymeric technology, Biopolynet tunes the rheology of water in the conventional industries to boost their circular economy and significantly decrease their wastewater streams.
Poor water quality and infrastructure management have a direct impact on citizens’ health and quality of life. New technologies such as artificial intelligence can support municipalities in their strategic decision-making. CANN Forecast develops smart decision tools for the proactive management of urban waters.
Clean Nature developed and proposes guiA, an innovative and effective smart decision-making tool to prepare, intervene and adapt road-salt spreading more efficiently while reducing costs and environmental impacts.
EAIGLE is an Intelligent Video Analytics Platform based on machine learning and artificial intelligence for freshwater monitoring, automation and control, and sustainable operation in aquatics through real-time occupancy monitoring.
RainStick Shower is a recirculating shower that saves 80% water and 80% energy but feels like a high-pressure shower. Water at the end of your shower is safe enough to drink.
SENTRY is a unique bio-electrode sensor platform that provides real-time microbial performance and water quality monitoring for wastewater and water treatment facilities.
Water Rangers builds tools to empower anyone to learn about, test and act to protect freshwater. Through an open-data platform and simple water testkits, they are transforming water stewardship.
Do you have a product, service, or strategy to help tackle the climate crisis and put people and planet first? Climate Ventures provides coworking, community, and programs to accelerate your success and amplify your impact.