To our friends and colleagues in Ontario’s water sector, and on behalf of the Board and Team at WaterTAP, I would like to commend you on your efforts in 2016, and wish you a most prosperous year ahead.
In 2016, the will to innovate persevered in Ontario’s water sector, evidenced by overall continued growth in sales revenue. According to our annual survey, the average revenue growth rate of survey-respondent companies was 22%. This outcome follows the trend of continued strong growth experienced by surveyed companies in 2015 and 2014.
As a champion of the province’s steady progress, WaterTAP continues to offer programs and initiatives to accelerate these industry successes.
In 2016, our Direct Assistance program, which provides Ontario water companies with access to world-class expertise in areas ranging from developing go-to-market strategy development to navigating complex regulatory approval pathways, was met by unprecedented demand. Currently, we have more than 20 projects in progress and many more in development.
In addition, we launched WaterTAP’s Better Best Practices Initiative. Through this initiative, WaterTAP is collaborating with key stakeholders to address the challenges that can represent barriers to the adoption of innovative water technologies by end users in Ontario and around the world. Our goal is to work with these stakeholders to lead a process that truly transforms the regulatory and procurement landscape, enabling our municipalities to invest in innovative technologies that not only reduce operating and maintenance costs, but also contribute to the reduction of carbon and greenhouse gas emissions from energy-intensive drinking water and wastewater treatment processes. This initiative is critical for the long-term health and prosperity of Ontario’s water sector.
Finally, WaterTAP proudly hosted the inaugural Ontario Water Innovation Week. From October 16-21, 2016, WaterTAP and partner organizations brought more than 300 international water innovation leaders to Toronto to build networks and share effective strategies. Two major conferences, Water Innovation in Action 2.0 and World Water-Tech North America, anchored the week’s activities and hosted regional and global conversations.
I am pleased to announce that WaterTAP will be continuing and extending its work on all three of these initiatives with even more determination and vigour in 2017.
Based on our first year of delivering projects, we will refine the Direct Assistance program to better serve Ontario companies. Through the Better Best Practices Initiative, we will continue our diligent work to promote cooperation between public and private water industry stakeholders in order to address barriers. And we will once again host Ontario Water Innovation Week, scheduled for October 30 to November 3, 2017.
As well, in the months ahead, we will again partner with Isle Utilities to host the third Technology Approval Group (TAG) meeting in Ontario. TAG events bring together municipalities to learn about some of the world’s most innovative water technologies. On average, 70% of technologies that go through the rigorous TAG review process are invited by municipalities to initiate field trials and pilot projects.
WaterTAP is also excited to launch a brand new pilot program called the Ontario Water Innovator Passport. The passport offers a subscription to our popular Marketing User Group (MUG) series for 2017 at a substantial discount, and WaterTAP is partnering with other industry organizations to offer special benefits to passport holders. Further details about the Passport program will be announced in the coming weeks.
In summary, we have an ambitious plan and busy year ahead of us as we support Ontario’s water sector, and our team is keen and ready to make this happen. As always, we would love to hear from you on how we can continue to improve our services and develop more innovative programs to support Ontario’s growing water sector.
Per the goals set forth in the Water Opportunities Act (2010), WaterTAP looks forward to continuing its mission to advance Ontario’s water technology sector in 2017!
Dr. Peter Gallant
President and CEO, WaterTAP