CWA is involved in many water-related partnerships and programs that aim to drive innovation of water technology while we broaden engagement, research, programming and membership, and to better accelerate cluster-based activities and advance CWA/Northeast Ohio as a leader within the national and international market. Our innovation challenge programming includes:

Smart Lake: The Smart Lake work leverages the urgency surrounding Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) to build the first demonstration “Smart Lake,” a new breed of Smart & Connected Infrastructure that enables intelligent community water management. Lake Erie communities impacted by the toxins produced by HABs need an integrated solution to effectively quantify and manage this regional ecological crisis and the nutrient pollution that drives it.

Harmful Algal Bloom Warning SystemThe Cleveland Water Alliance (CWA), in partnership with the Great Lakes Observing System and LimnoTech, are working to transition Lake Erie’s early warning systems for harmful algae blooms to sustainable, operational form. Harmful algal blooms in general, and cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms in freshwater, are a global public health and environmental concern and can make water unsafe to drink. In 2014, toxins from HABs in Lake Erie made the water in Toledo undrinkable.  The is funded through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and its Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) and is part of the Ocean Technology Transition project, whose aim is to speed theoretical technology into operation. The project will operationalize an online web portal for water quality data and augment existing instruments in the lake with new ones that can detect toxins before they reach treatment plants.

Internet of H2O: A recently completed $50k water innovation competition in partnership with DigitalC, US Ignite, and NSF, designed to bring out next-generation networking and sensor technology to take on the challenge of monitoring and managing nutrients in Lake Erie and beyond. We aspired to generate robust and resilient nutrient monitoring pilots with the potential to scale across the Great Lakes. As a follow-up to Erie Hack, design and develop an integrated solution that leverages software-defined networks (SDN) and Internet of Things (IoT) detection technology to monitor, predict, and/or manage phosphorus loading of Lake Erie and its impacts in real time. For more information and to register: Internet of H2O The Erie Hack 2017 was a $100k data and engineering water innovation competition that unites coders, developers, engineers, and water experts to generate enduring solutions to Lake Erie’s biggest challenges. In partnership with Detroit, Windsor, Toledo, Erie PA, Buffalo and Cleveland, you can ead about the winners here, and stay tuned for our next basin wide water innovation event for the second half of 2018!

In addition, CWA has many first to market water innovation acceleration partnerships with:

Bio- and Eco- Mimetic Water Innovation Program – ODNR OCR and BioHabitats

CWA has entered into two separate multi-year agreements with Great Lakes Biomimicry Institute, the University of Akron, and the Ohio Department of Natural Resource’s Coastal Advisory Department for Ph.D. research fellowships to begin work on new water innovation around multiple problem areas.


A Partner Program of Cleveland Water Alliance, Biohabitats, Ohio DNR Office of Coastal Management. The Team believes that a Biomimicry Fellow focused on finding bio-inspired ways to improve urban coastal and nearshore water quality associated with stormwater runoff, point and non-point source discharges, and riverine/coastal erosion (shoreline stabilization) would greatly benefit both Lake Erie and the coastal region.


A Partner Program of Cleveland Water Alliance, Ohio DNR Office of Coastal Management. Biomimicry Fellow to identify specific actions related to the attainment of specific nearshore management goals that include, but are not limited to: improving nearshore water quality, maintaining a sustainable fishery, enhancing coastal biodiversity, managing invasive species, protecting coastal sand resources, enhancing coastal resiliency, and promoting public access.

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