Insights on IH2O WIW2020: Alumni representative from Water Rangers, AquaHacking ’15

By Carmen Joy King October 14, 2020

By Laura Gilbert, Community Research Coordinator, Water Rangers

Water Rangers was founded out of AquaHacking in 2015 and this year, we celebrated our 5 year anniversary! Our mission as water rangers is to build tools to help citizens and scientists easily record and analyse water data, contributing to collectively solving local environmental  problems, sharing discoveries, and engaging with their neighbours. This year, we’ve launched a new feature on our app that uses machine learning to “read” colour test strips! Our growing team now includes an education coordinator who is developing resources about water stewardship and conservation for educators across Canada.

As the Community Research Coordinator with Water Rangers, I am excited to have the opportunity to participate in the Imagine H2O Water Innovation Week 2020 alongside the AquaHacking Alumni cohort! When listening to Ifetayo Venner (Water Sustainability Leader at Arcadis) in the panel on “How to Become a Better Deployer of Water Innovation” talking about the importance of always remembering who you’re designing for, I was reminded of the importance of listening to the people who use our testkits to understand their needs. For example, Eden (one of our water testers) told us that she had trouble reaching the water and used a selfie stick to hold her cup and get a sample. Thanks to her suggestion, we now include one in every testkit, but we renamed it a “reacher stick”!

We want to thank the AquaHacking Alumni Program for giving us the opportunity to attend the Imagine H2O Water Innovation Week 2020. It’s great to hear about the amazing work that the community of water innovators and entrepreneurs are doing.

Cover image: Kat Kavanagh (Executive Director of Water Rangers) with Elizabeth Hendricks (Vice President of Freshwater WWF-Canada) testing for dissolved oxygen