AquaHacking BC

Welcome to the AquaHacking BC Challenge 2020! We are so glad that you're here. If you're ready to register, click the "JOIN" button to the right. If you're ready to learn about the Water Issues for this challenge - scroll down!

Use this page to connect with teammates, learn about the BC water issues (scroll down!), and find all of the workshop details (available after the Kick off). Make sure to save this page as you will be coming back to it often to stay up-to-date with the program!

About the AquaHacking Challenge 2020 – British Columbia

Each year, through the AquaHacking Challenge, we engage with rising gen hackers, engineers and marketers from various universities to create multidisciplinary teams and develop clean-tech engineering, web and mobile solutions to solve water issues affecting different regions in Canada.

This year, for the FIRST time, the AquaHacking Challenge is brought to British Columbia, hosted by the Okanagan Basin Water Board.

The Okanagan Basin Water Board (OBWB) is an inter-regional local government agency founded in 1970, under B.C. provincial legislation, to promote the shared water interests of Okanagan communities. Its vision is to have clean and healthy water in perpetuity, meeting the needs of natural ecosystems, residents and agriculture – now and in the future.

As the focus of the Challenge is demand-driven innovation, the water issues that will be tackled are designed and submitted by leading water organizations. These ‘water issue leaders’ will provide expert insights to the hacking teams to ensure they better understand the issues. The water issue leaders will also provide access to relevant data.

AquaHacking Challenge founding sponsor, IBM Canada, has also provided their Watson APIs, Cloud access and more, to competing teams for the duration of the Challenge.

The expected results at the end of the Challenge are functional, marketable, and demand-driven solutions that have a real and measurable impact on solving critical water issues. 80% of winning teams since 2015 (that is 16 teams!) have continued on to become successful water-tech start-ups with their products at various stages of development and in-market.

AquaHacking Challenge – British Columbia Water Issues

For the AquaHacking BC Challenge, each team will need to choose ONE of the Water Issues listed below. 

For more information about the Hackathon and the water issues, please join us in these upcoming info sessions:

In-Person Info sessions:





Room location

Friday, Nov 15

11:30 AM


UBC Okanagan

EME 1202, Engineering, Management and Education building

Monday, Nov 18

12:00 PM


Okanagan College Kelowna

Info table at Center for learning building,1st Floor.

Tuesday, Nov 19

4:30 PM


Simon Fraser University, Burnaby


Wednesday, Nov 20

1:00 PM


UBC Vancouver

MSL 101, Michael Smith Labs, 2185 East Mall

Friday, Nov 22



Thompsons River University


Monday, Nov 25



Okanagan College Vernon





Pearson College Victoria






University of Northern BC




Weekly webinars in November (online):

Thursdays:  Nov 28, Dec 5 and 12 and Monday, Dec 16  10 AM- PST: Register here

Each of the Water Issues is supported by a team of experts representing organizations working at the leading edge of their field in water. The videos [released on October 29th] allow you to hear from the Water Issue Leaders directly, who will share why the water issue is at a critical point of needing a solution.

Watch them to gain a better understanding of what will be required in order to create a meaningful solution. Once your team has chosen a Water Issue, you will be connected with the Water Issue Leaders who will support you throughout the development of your solution. More details of the water issues will also be available during the Kick-off event on October 29th.

The thematic areas for the BC AquaHacking Challenge are:

Storm Water Contamination (Presenters: Marta Green and Heather Larratt)

Water Waste (Presenters: Ed Hoppe and Jennifer Miles)

Flood Damage (Presenters: Steve Litke, Heather McGrath, Robin Bourke)

Potable Water in Indigenous Communities (Presenters: Sarah Alexis and Tessa Terbasket)

Invasive Mussels (Presenter: James Littley)


These three virtual workshops will help you design, build, and pitch your solution:
Design Thinking, Machine Learning, and Pitch Perfect.

We recommend starting with the Design Thinking workshop as it will give your team foundational tools for the initial concepts of your solution. The Machine Learning workshop will help your team understand what technical functionality is possible with machine learning algorithms. Finally, the Pitch Perfect workshop will provide tips to help you pitch your solution to the judges at the Semi-Final! You can find them all under the "Workshops" tab.



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