WINNIPEG -- With Lake Winnipeg facing environmental deterioration, a start-up competition is turning to the tech sector to help find solutions to the issues plaguing the lake.

The AquaHacking Lake Winnipeg 2020 Challenge, hosted by the International Institute of Sustainable Development (IISD), is an eight-month hackathon for students and young professionals to team up and come up with new ways to deal with Lake Winnipeg’s water issues.

Jane McDonald, managing director of the IISD, said Lake Winnipeg has been deteriorating environmentally for a number of years, with issues like algae blooms, zebra mussels and micro-plastics.

“What we’re really seeing is that the solutions we have to these problems aren’t keeping pace with the size and scope of what we’re seeing now and so with things like climate change affecting all of these issues, we’re really struggling to keep up in terms of traditional solutions,” she said.

“So we thought we would turn to the tech sector and ask them to bring in some innovative ideas to the table and take a look at these issues in ways we haven’t been doing before.”

During the competition, participants will be mentored by experts in water, tech and business. The teams will compete for $50,000 and incubator space.

The hackathon will be launched on Friday, Jan. 31 at Disrupted Future: The Human Side of Tech, a conference looking at the way technology is disrupting the world and how people are dealing with it.

More information on the AquaHacking Lake Winnipeg 2020 Challenge can be found online. Anyone over 18 can participate.

“We’re really looking to bring new people and new eyes to this issue. We’re looking for people in technology and business. This is an entrepreneurial competition, ” McDonald said.

 - With files from CTV's Katherine Dow.