The nexus of high frequency, big, and long-term data – catalysing new opportunities to support drinking water treatment
Within the prairies, water treatment brings unique challenges. Source waters are often nutrient rich, and within lakes, this can lead to enhanced cyanobacterial bloom risk, and elevated dissolved organic matter leading to production of disinfection by-products. There are myriad challenges, which can be supported by improved understanding of source waters, and improved technology supporting decisions for water treatment, and water resource management. This work integrates proactive-long-term monitoring to develop systems to understand long-term changes in a key drinking water resource, combined with new sensor-based tools, and analytical approaches to genomics and toxin analyses to help inform water treatment. First steps include formalizing decision support for managing incidents of rising floc associated with cyanobacterial blooms and integrating data management systems to help support plant operations. Our partner organization is on the cusp of a ~$250million upgrade to support safe drinking water for the next 3-4 decades for 25% of the population of the province of Saskatchewan. This work will help bridge our best knowledge of changes in source water to changes in treatment minimizing costs, maximizing reliability and helping support their core mission of provision of safe drinking water.