The simple act of turning on a tap belies the challenges of Canada’s water industry. Bita Malekian founded Water Movement to create a positive impact on the inner workings of Calgary’s water system, with a ripple effect on education and community awareness.
After graduating with a mechanical engineering degree in 2018 and landing a job at an energy company, Bita joined Calgary Professional Chapter of Engineers without Borders. While conducting a series of lunch-and-learn programs with leading water professionals and academics, she became aware of a theme: operational issues at water facilities. Indigenous water facility operators told her that there was a lack of training resources, a scarcity of engagement from engineers due to remote locations and a limited network to connect with other operators in order to assist with problem-solving.
Water Movement is the direct result of Bita’s ability to take note, listen and proactively respond in a creative manner. Its mission is to bridge the connection between Indigenous water operators by creating an online space that offers training videos and additional resources. The project was developed over the course of three years, during which data analytics were generated in order to identify the greatest needs for support.
No stranger to the efforts required to achieve goals, Bita has worked full-time, competed in a triathlon and completed a masters in engineering while bringing Water Movement to life. Proudly championing the Indigenous water operators—who are the primary source of inspiration for Water Movement—she is a reflection of the collective power of skill and information sharing that can create a lasting positive change.
Based in Calgary, Water Movement fills a void in an often-fragmented industry and bridges the connection between Indigenous water operators whose work is vital to the health and well-being of countless communities. Through the joint efforts of industry professionals and university students, it provides a collaborative online space where operators can connect, share lessons learned and access training videos that act as educational tools. In addition to providing resources and an interactive collaboration zone for those in the industry, Water Movement seeks to raise awareness among the next generation of water leaders.
The free program connects with youth through virtual workshops for students of all ages. It’s designed to educate kids about water in Canada, careers in engineering and the water sector. Lastly, once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, wastewater treatment plant tours will also be available as part of the youth program.