Global design firm Stantec has unveiled its newest initiative – the Stantec Institute for Water Technology & Policy (the Institute) – to explore the real-world impacts of a changing climate on the sustainability of water and the role of emerging technologies in water science and policy. The Institute engages scientists, engineers, and technology specialists across the globe to investigate questions at the forefront of transforming the water industry’s future. Of paramount importance is capitalizing on opportunities that accelerate sustainability and resiliency within the changing global climate, specifically through addressing the nexus of food, water, and energy by focusing on decarbonization and circular economic principles.
Many water systems are grappling with aging and deteriorating infrastructure, changing customer bases, regulatory compliance, and climate change – all of which add to the growing costs of providing affordable and equitable water services. Many of the technical problems facing our water industry are solvable through the implementation of suitable policy and emerging technology. However, the pace of research and commercialization is not fast enough in many cases. And because the publicly owned water industry has tended to be risk averse, early adopters of water technology or new approaches often pay a premium to be first.
“A primary mission of the Institute is to identify emerging and leading-edge technologies to help address the water challenges our communities face and bridge the gap between science and practice to de-risk their implementation. The Institute exists to demonstrate that solutions to preserve and protect water quantity and quality in the context of a changing global climate are both technologically available and achievable at any scale,” said Dr. Art Umble, Stantec Senior Vice President, Global Sector Leader for Wastewater Treatment.
Making Critical Connections
The Institute will function as a connector – through work with experts at regional utilities, industrial water users, academic institutions, industry organizations, and technology providers – to explore technology-based solutions that reach across the entire hydrologic cycle with outcomes grounded in applied research methods.
The Institute will leverage the firm’s breadth of expertise and strategic partnerships across the areas of water resources, water quantity, water quality, and water conveyance and their intersection with public and environmental policy. At the center of the Institute’s activity is science-based data that will help inform decision makers setting water policy and addressing regulatory issues.
“Our reputation is built on our experience working on some of the world’s largest and most technically challenging projects,” said Dr. Rob Simm, Senior Vice President, Emergent Sector Leader. “We are in a unique position to help establish these critical connections due to our global reach and, most importantly, the strength and depth of our relationships across the water technology, venture capital, vendor, academic, and industry communities.”
An Adaptable Approach
From the regulation and treatment of emerging constituents of concern such as PFAS to the major policy issues surrounding diminishing available water sources, coastal resiliency, carbon neutrality, transitions to renewable energy, the water footprints in industrial and consumer systems, management of brine, and recycling waste into valued products are affecting how our clients must respond. Solutions must be systems-oriented and adaptable to the ever-transforming landscapes of physical, environmental, and socio-political change at both micro and macro scales.
“By building compendiums of viable, reliable, flexible, and disruptive technology process sets to achieve systems-level solutions, this work will help lead the way on a wide range of water issues that are of increasingly critical global importance,” said Dr. Mehran Andalib, Stantec Vice President, Water Institute Technology Leader. “This new initiative reinforces Stantec’s commitment to shaping the future of water by defining and addressing the questions that arise with new technologies.”
Umble, Andalib, Simm, and Dr. Joseph Jacangelo will lead this new initiative.