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CU75 POPS: Water

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What is CU75POPS:Water ?

CU75 POPS: Water is a student-led “team” challenge designed to reward innovation and creativity and get you thinking about pathways to effect change in your community. That’s why it’s called POPS— Policy Options and Problem Solving.

We want your team to solve a water resource policy question that connects directly to the use, management and governance of water in our community in the face of increasing scarcity.

How will the Challenge be run?

pops-medalThere will be two separate streams of the Challenge, one for undergraduate teams and graduate teams.

Teams must be comprised of either all undergraduate students or all graduate students and meet the requirements set out below.

While the Challenge is the same for both streams, we’ll judge the streams separately and offer separate prizes for each stream.

The Challenge will be divided into two phases during the academic year.

Phase 1: Teambuilding (September –December).

Phase 2: Feedback and Finals (January – March).

During Phase 1 you will form your team, research your topic and create a practical solution to the problem. Your team must then write up and submit your solution in the form of a proposal of no more than 2 pages in length (for further details on the requirements of phase 1 see below). Solutions can be technical, but they must focus on the policy aspects of resolving the problem.  Your Phase 1 submission will be due on December 1, 2016. Late submissions will not be accepted.

At the end of Phase 1 (December, 2016) your proposed solutions will be reviewed by a panel of judges who are experts in the area of the policy problem and they will select the finalists (a maximum of 5 teams in each stream) to proceed to Phase 2. We will let your team know by email if you have been selected to proceed.

If your team is selected to proceed to Phase 2 you will be required to prepare a presentation that represents your solution (for details on the presentation requirements see below). You will present it at a final presentation event on March 22, 2017. A panel of experts will judge these presentations based on, in their sole discretion, how the presentation meets the evaluation criteria set out below and will award first, second and third prizes in each stream.

What is Expected from Participants?

What is an eligible team?

  1. Teams must include a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 5 students with two of these students registered in a major offered by an FPA unit.
  2. One FPA student must be appointed as the team lead the other as the co-lead.
  3. All other members of the team must be registered in a program or major offered by another Faculty at Carleton University.
  4. No more than two team members can be registered in the same program (this includes double majors, where there is overlap between one of the two programs in the major).
  5. All team members must be currently registered students, with good standing, at Carleton University.
  6. This means that two out of your team members must be registered in an FPA program or major but at least one other team member must be registered in a program or major not offered by FPA. They can be registered in any other program or major offered by Carleton University.
  7. Teams must be made up of either all undergraduate or all graduate students.

When must I register a team?

Teams must be registered by no later than November 1, 2016. If you would like to submit your name to be matched with a potential team, please click here.

What will you submit?

Expected content

Phase One


  • Written proposal
  • Two pages
  • Times New Roman
  • Double Spaced
  • Including any citations! All information you research must be referenced.
  • You can attach a list of works cited/bibliography which does not count towards your two pages.


Phase Two


  • Be clear in your presentation.
  • Think carefully about how you will be representing your solution.
  • Be engaging!
  • It is always better if more than one team member talks.
  • Have fun!

How will the Judges evaluate the projects?

In Phase 1 your team’s solution will be evaluated by the Judges in their sole discretion out of 100 points as follows:

25 points for innovation: How innovative is your solution?

25 points for feasibility: Is your solution feasible? This can include technical aspects of your solution but it will also include things such as cost and overall likelihood of success.

25 points for contribution to the community: Will your solution contribute to the community in a positive way?

25 points for presentation: Was your proposal clear? Was spelling and grammar correct? Were all sources properly cited?

In Phase 2 your team’s solution will be evaluated by the Judges in their sole discretion out of 100 points as follows:

25 points for innovation: How innovative is your solution?

25 points for feasibility: Is your solution feasible? Do any models or visual representations demonstrate how and why this will work? Do they establish a clear argument that your solution is cost effective? Is your solution likely to succeed?

25 points for contribution to the community: Does your presentation outline how your solution will make a positive contribution to your community?

25 points for presentation: Was your presentation clear? Did it flow well? Was it engaging for the judges?

The Prizes

There will be 3 prizes awarded in each stream. First prize is $7500 to the winning team, $2500 to the second place team and $1500 to the third place team. Winners will be announced at the final event on March22nd.

The Problem

Ottawa is one of many cities across Canada with older urban areas designed and built prior to environmental regulations to protect the quality and quantity of storm water discharged to local creeks and rivers. Consequently, much land within the Greenbelt drains to the Rideau or Ottawa rivers with limited flow controls and pollution mitigation. This has consequences for the ecosystem as well as Ottawa’s citizens. For example it impacts the number of days in the summer that different Ottawa beaches have no-swim warnings due to E. coli levels. The policy challenge is to determine how to best prevent and mitigate impacts on urban streams and rivers and aquatic environments within the Greenbelt while recognizing that most land is developed and in private ownership; and that individual actions on those properties and on public streets contribute to this problem. In addressing this issue, students should consider the range of tools at the disposal of municipalities to control and influence physical and behavioural changes on private property and within public rights-of-way, as well as the costs, benefits and risks of implementing those measures, and how they would be funded, as well as linkages and possibility to leverage provincial and/or federal laws or programs.

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