Water quality monitoring, strategic planning and communications for small to medium-sized water systems

  • Water quality monitoring and plant operations
  • Water system assessments 
  • Emergency response plans, strategic planning and feasibility studies
  • Policy review and bylaw updates
  • Communications, content development, and public outreach 
  • Event and workshop coordination

Waterwoman Consulting Ltd. is a one woman show that teams up with other water industry experts when the workload and skills require it. The founder of Waterwoman is Sonya Jenssen, a Vancouver-born, Vancouver Island-raised, Canadian Norwegian water industry professional. 

Sonya Jenssen is Waterwoman.

It was by accident that I fell in love with water. Or perhaps it fell in love with me.

As a child, our Sunday treat was to go to the pool as a family and then for an ice cream afterwards. Water has always had a positive impact on my life – from swimming at the beach to jumping in puddles, I never questioned the quality or quantity.

I was lucky that way and not being aware of the alternatives I was blissfully ignorant. The rights to clean water never crossed my mind as a child; I didn’t realize this was an issue, across Canada and the globe. 

Fast forward to 2004, I applied to two master’s programs in different regions of Norway – water management or film-making.

I chose the water management and coastal resources program. I made a major decision about my future career based on weather conditions and climate! And I fell in love with the field of freshwater day one of my master’s program on a field trip to Odda; one of the largest and best preserved hydro-electric dam sites in Norway. 

Sonya received her Master’s in Water Resources and Coastal Management from the University of Bergen in Norway in 2006 and conducted her master’s thesis fieldwork in Jordan investigating strategies for mitigating domestic water-scarcity. She is based on Vancouver Island, in British Columbia, Canada.

As part of my thesis, I learned that access to water was a treasured and shared resource.

 

The first step in water advocacy is to understand, and to help others understand.

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My masters took me on a journey to a better understanding of how water is utilized via the lenses of anthropology, geography, history, policy and biology. This took me to Jordan where I evaluated a development project ‘Project Rainkeep‘ and the impacts it had on alleviating water-scarcity in rural households. Links to my field notes and abstract are here; for a copy of my thesis please contact me directly.

One of my first big projects post-graduation was to produce a water guide that detailed all water systems in the Comox Valley. This reference guide is a publicly-available tool to unveil some of the complexities of water management for potable water.

I returned to Norway to work for the Water and Sewerage Department with the City of Oslo where I produced reports, taught English with a water-centric focus, represented the City locally and internationally at events and water conferences, and helped implement an internal quality management system.

From the education and research side of water, it was natural that I started doing more communication and public outreach in the form of booths, surveys, blog posts, articles, events. And while I thought this was valuable, a missing component from my perspective was being closer to the ground.

I work part-time as an EOCP certified Level 1 Water Treatment Operator and on projects in communications, strategic planning, water quality monitoring and systems assessments.

Waterwoman is based on Vancouver Island.  You can contact Sonya at: sonya@waterwoman.ca

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