Alberta WaterSMART is a niche strategic and engineering consulting company with deep domain expertise and understanding of water in Alberta supported by robust technical skills. Alberta WaterSMART provides a unique combination of in-house integrated water management expertise, with access to a diverse external network of global and local leaders in the field. This powerful formula allows Alberta WaterSMART to identify, develop and execute water related strategies and projects for its clients and partners spanning from strategic assessment and facilitation, to policy response and awareness, to technical solution development and application. Alberta WaterSMART is an effective catalyst and champion for positive change.
Alberta WaterSMART is committed to improving water management through better technologies and practices, for the social, economic and environmental benefit of current and future Albertans, and then sharing these solutions with Canada and the World.
Alberta WaterSMART builds on the vision of many dedicated associates, board members and volunteers to build a new model for water management in Alberta. The idea was formulated by CEO and founder Kim Sturgess in 2004, inspired by the Water For Life Strategy championed by then Alberta Minister of the Environment, Dr. Lorne Taylor. At that time, Kim was involved in an energy related business that involved the innovative use of water. A fellow team member, Mike Urednicek, was passionately promoting the economic value of natural capital, and encouraged Kim to look at water as a value added resource. In October 2004, Kim attended a conference on the Value of Natural Capital at the strong suggestion of Mike. At that conference in Jasper, Kim saw the future and committed to develop the concept of water as a value added resource. Over the first half of 2005, Kim and Mike worked together on the business concept that became WaterSMART. In early August, 2005 very unfortunately both Kim and Mike suffered very serious accidents. Kim had a major car accident that she walked away from. Mike had a bicycle accident avoiding some pedestrians and died of his injuries. From that time, Kim dedicated her remaining career to the vision of water as a value added resource. The Alberta WaterPortal is dedicated to Mike’s work and memory.
Through the remainder of 2005, a large and diverse group of advisors and supporters helped frame the concept of WaterSMART and agreed to get involved in a variety of ways. In early October, Chair Emeritus Fred Stewart agreed to serve as our first board chair. He hosted our first strategy session in November 2005 where the mission statement and business model was developed, neither of which has changed substantially over the last seven years. WaterSMART was incorporated on January 10, 2006, and operations commenced shortly thereafter. The first client contract was signed effective April 1, 2006, with EnergyINet, who also provided office space and support services for WaterSMART for our first year. A core group of contractors provided consulting and advisory services for our partners for the first several years.
In early 2008, WaterSMART signed a strategic partnership with Alberta Innovates Technology Futures (formerly Alberta Research Council), and has operated out of their facilities in the University Research Centre since then. Also in 2008, WaterSMART entered into a long term strategic relationship with the Oil Sands Leadership Initiative (OSLI) which has been very rewarding. Finally, WaterSMART conducted a foundational study with the Alberta Economic Development Authority on the sustainable use of water in Alberta. This work lead to the development of the Bow River Consortium which has executed critically important work on more effectively and efficiently managing the Bow River. All of these strategic relationships continue today.
In 2011 WaterSMART underwent a transformation from a Society to a company incorporated under the Alberta Business Corporations Act. This change signalled a new era of growth and service to our partners and to protect and manage our most precious resource, water, now and for generations to come.