Our Cleveland Water Alliance (CWA) team has been hard at work so far in 2023 and is happy to report several new developments happening simultaneously this April!
We are thrilled to announce the opening of the 2023 field season of both the Smart Lake Erie Watershed and our Water Accelerator Testbeds. Just as exciting, we expect to double our Smart Lake Erie Watershed's telecommunications coverage network from over 6,000 square miles to more than 12,000 square miles in the coming years, which has attracted global attention to our impactful work.
Additionally, we are actively engaged in fundraising for the Freshwater Innovation Fund and we are pleased to report that we have received active interest and commitments from accredited investors, foundations, and corporate venture funds within our first few weeks of active outreach. This fundraising effort will enable us to continue driving innovation and sustainable development in the water industry.
Members of our team have traveled all over the US this month to speak and participate in meetings and panels on global and regional water issues with many upcoming events booked for May.
With everything going on, we wanted to take a moment to share some of the highlights with our community.
As the weather heats up, our core programs do too! We're thrilled to be continuing the growth and development of our Smart Lake Erie Watershed initiative with a number of events to support the regional water community and advance relationships with our partners and collaborators.
In preparation for the 2023 field season, Cleveland Water Alliance and Limnotech hosted the first-ever Cleveland Smart Sensor Calibration Event at Cleveland State University this month! This event brought together local researchers, municipalities, and water plant operators on April 26th, to ensure their smart water-sensing devices are calibrated and ready for monitoring and reporting accurate results. We're proud to provide this educational and networking opportunity to the industry partners from around the region.
CWA is deploying the first Smart Buoys of the season in early May, simultaneously indicating the opening of the Testbed season. These buoys are part of the largest digitally connected freshwater body in the world, and CWA has curated a Testbed program that allows innovators worldwide to test, trial, pilot, and demonstrate their cutting-edge IoT technologies.
Assisting with the deployment of the Smart Buoys is Argonaut, the CMSD partner organization training students in maritime career opportunities. These students staff and manage vessels on the River and Lake, such as Port of Cleveland’s debris harvesting vessels, Flotsam and Jetsam.
CWA has launched the Water Accelerator Testbeds program for the season. This program empowers innovators to trial and demonstrate solutions that address freshwater challenges, while fostering regional economic development and community engagement. Applicable technologies include IoT innovations that can monitor, predict, and manage water resources in real-time. This year, our Innovation team is scheduling 25 technology deployments, and booking for the 2024 season!
CWA is actively fundraising for the Freshwater Innovation Fund and has received active interest and commitments in the first several weeks of outreach to accredited investors, foundations, and corporate venture funds.
The importance of CWA's work on the Great Lakes was underscored by Bryan Stubbs' recent trips to DC and Dallas to advocate for funding and support for freshwater initiatives. In DC, Bryan testified in front of the Finance Subcommittee on Agriculture, Development and Natural Resources on a new two year budget request. He emphasized the importance of the work being done by CWA and urged continued investment in their initiatives.
Bryan spent two days in DC for Capitol Hill visits to staffers with Rep. Joyce, Rep. Kaptur, Senator Brown, along with an in-person meeting with new Ohio Senator J.D. Vance. Bryan also met with the Department of Energy, and Penny Pritzker, former US Secretary of Commerce, regarding the Freshwater Innovation Fund.
Max Herzog was recently appointed to the Environmental Technologies Trade Advisory Committee (ETTAC) as a representative from the CWA and of the water and wastewater treatment segment of the U.S. environmental technology industry. The Committee will provide consensus advice on the development and administration of programs to expand U.S. exports of environmental technologies, goods and services, and products that comply with U.S. environmental, safety, and related requirements.
This month, Max joined the committed in Washington D.C. for their first convening.
Bryan was invited to speak at the 7th Annual E-Capital Summit during EarthX's Congress of Conferences in Dallas, Texas participating in the Investment Forum on April 20th, where he shared the stage with Eric Smith, Director of the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the US Economic Development Administration, in a panel discussion on "Regional Development through US Economic Development Administration Initiatives." The discussion focused on the role of regional-based innovation in moving the needle on technology-based economic development – both technology acceleration and job creation– and its broader impacts. Some of these impacts include an increase in access to clean water, water quality, and community health outcomes.
Bryan emphasized the importance of supporting and investing in innovative solutions to freshwater challenges. He believes that initiatives like CWA's Freshwater Innovation Fund are crucial in driving innovation and sustainability in the water industry. By supporting startups and early-stage companies, the fund can help bring new ideas and technologies to the market, ultimately leading to a more sustainable future for our planet. His representation of CWA at this event continues to solidify CWA as the national leader for Freshwater Innovation.
CWA co-hosted a free webinar with the SWAN Forum called: "Building Trust in Water: Connecting Communities and Utilities." This virtual panel discussion brought together community, utility, and policy perspectives to unpack the complex factors that break down trust in water across the United States and the innovative strategies being used to address this pressing challenge. In conversation with each other and session attendees, our speakers sought to explore the challenge of building trust between utilities and the people they serve as well as the role of this trust in creating healthy and vibrant communities.
Watch a playback of this webinar and learn more about this topic.
With so much happening across our organization we’re thrilled to share this exciting glimpse into some of the highlights! As always, we’re thankful for an incredible team, the collaboration of amazing partners, and the constant support of our local and global water community. Keep your eyes out in May for many exciting developments as we begin our 2023 Field Season in the Watershed!
October 6, 2023