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Canadian Teachers are Waiting to Educate Over 138,000 Canadian Students About Drinking Water Quality Issues and Solutions

Canadian teachers are currently waiting for the opportunity to educate over 138,000 Canadian students about drinking water quality issues and solutions. In order to be able to do this they will need over 4,100 sponsored Operation Water Drop, Operation Water Pollution and Operation Water Biology kits to be sent to their schools. Individuals and companies can sponsor kits for schools. If you/your company sponsors kits, you/your company will be acknowledged in the letter that accompanies the kit. You can even decide in which geographic area your kits will be dispersed or to which specific school(s). Please e-mail info@safewater.org if you would like to sponsor Operation Water Drop, Operation Water Pollution and/or Operation Water Biology kits or if you would like more information.

Educational Kits for Schools

Many school divisions and districts from coast to coast are recommending the Safe Drinking Water Foundation's education programs to their teachers!  Thank you to all of the administrators who are promoting our programs!  To find out whether a sponsored kit is available for your school,  send an e-mail to info@safewater.org or phone 306-934-0389.

ClickHereToOrderKits

Learn More About Our Two New Education Programs

Operation Water Biology
Operation Community Water Footprint


Canadian Students are Waiting to Learn about Drinking Water Quality Issues and Solutions

Many Canadian schools are on the waiting list for sponsored kits. Please click on the map to discover if schools in your area, the school your children attend or the school from which you graduated is waiting for a sponsored kit. Please donate a kit to a school today!



Water Fact of the Week (Week of October 20th, 2014)

The value of the in-ground assets of Canadian municipal water supply and wastewater systems totals over $100 billion.

Document to Help Teachers Have a Debate about a Drinking Water Quality Issues in their Classrooms

We have just added a document to help teachers have a debate about a drinking water quality issue in their classroom to the Education section of our website. You can also see the document here.

View Dr. David Schindler's Public Lecture at the Water Institute (June 2014)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AvFm7UIzHWk&list=PLawkBQ15NDEkajDjQxgbRZlqXCKXbvtJJ&index=6

The SDWF Has Developed Problem-Based Learning Sets for Operation Water Drop, Operation Water Pollution and Operation Water Biology

Our Problem-Based Learning sets will be used by teachers to compliment the water testing kits and give a more complete knowledge base on the topic of safe drinking water. These sets are comprised of inquiry learning activities for the students. The teacher takes on the role of a facilitator of learning and lets the students teach themselves through research and critical thinking.

Find the Problem-Based Learning sets here: http://www.safewater.org/lessons-members

Water Online Article about Biological Filtration

Laura Martin from Water Online interviewed Dr. Hans Peterson to find out more about biological filtration and wrote the article Biological Filtration: The Future Of Drinking Water Treatment?

Bring On The Bacteria: Conventional Treatment Methods Not Enough to Produce Safe Drinking Water

Guest column written by Dr. Hans Peterson (founder, now Volunteer Ambassador of Safe Drinking Water Foundation) for Water Online, published on their website September 10th, 2014, read it here: http://www.wateronline.com/doc/bring-on-the-bacteria-conventional-treatment-methods-not-enough-to-produce-safe-drinking-water-0001

Attention All Saskatchewan Teachers

Partners for the Saskatchewan River Basin has launched an educational program called “Caring for our Watersheds” that encourages students from grades 7-12 to submit proposals that answer the question: “What can you do to improve your watershed?” Students enter to win cash prizes and may have access to extra funds to implement their proposal. As a bonus, all the schools that enter the contest will be entered to win one of two water bottle filling stations. Partners for the Saskatchewan River Basin would love to come to your classrooms and do a presentation about the program and help students brainstorm ideas for proposals. They are now booking visits for 2014! If you have any questions please contact Amber at Aburton@saskriverbasin.ca

CUPE (Canadian Union of Public Employees) Enough is Enough Campaign: Access to Water isn't a privilege. It is a right.

The Enough is Enough campaign is in collaboration with the Assembly of First Nations and the Safe Drinking Water Foundation

A January 2012 report by Health Canada says 161 water systems in 116 First Nations were under some form of drinking water advisory. This is equal to nearly one in five (18 per cent) of all First Nations.

It is unacceptable that any Indigenous people in Canada – First Nations, Métis and Inuit - should be subjected to conditions where there is no access to safe drinking water. Numerous examples of the deplorable conditions that exist in many First Nations clearly demonstrate that access to clean water for all First Nation citizens is not a priority for the federal government. These conditions would not be tolerated in any other Canadian communities, and if they do occur, swift and decisive action is the norm and is expected.

Protecting our water from the harmful effects of development is a responsibility we all share. Clean drinking water is a right for all.

Governments must work with First Nations and the public in the delivery and development of a clear, responsible, sustainable water management plan. This plan must include water regulations supported by proper funding for water and wastewater treatment plants, training for water operators, adequate baseline studies, proper monitoring, cumulative impact assessment, and ensure important habitat is projected for fish and wildlife.

For more information and to sign the petition visit http://cupe.ca/enoughisenough

CBC Radio Program Discusses Why Canadians Get Sick From Tap Water

On the June 19th, 2013 radio program “The Current” on CBC Radio Anna Maria Tremonti discussed the topic “Why Canadians get sick from tap water”. The information contained in the program included the fact that on any given day there are an estimated 1,500 Boil Water Advisories in effect across Canada. To listen to the program please visit http://www.cbc.ca/player/Radio/ID/2392365865/

Watch this Motivational Video!

Hydraulic Fracturing

Danielle Coore, BA student, University of Toronto
Shea Caughlin, BS student, University of Toronto
Andrea Olive, Assistant Professor, University of Toronto

Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) poses many environmental and public health risks in Saskatchewan. This is not something widely discussed in political circles because of the obvious economic gains of oil and gas development in the province. However, the public should be aware of the trade-offs and the proper steps should be taken to minimize threats wherever possible. There are ten federally listed and protected endangered species in range of active drilling sites in Southern Saskatchewan. This is also an area of the province where there is little surface water suggesting that the fracking industry is drawing from ground water and posing possible threats to both water supply and water quality. All residents of the province have a stake in these issues. Before making some recommendations to minimize risk, it is important to understand the potential threats.

Fracking poses a threat to wildlife, farm animals, and endangered species in Saskatchewan in four primary ways. First, fracking results in habitat fragmentation and destruction by way of altering the prairie landscape through the construction of drill rigs and well pads. Second, noise and light pollution at well pad sites may adversely impact species. One prime example of this is the fate of the Greater Sage-Grouse in Southern Saskatchewan. As is now known, breeding Sage-Grouse avoid areas in which oil and gas developments have occurred, and these birds also have shown to have higher mortality in these regions. In Canada, these birds only inhabit Southeastern Alberta and Southwestern Saskatchewan and only about 6% of the original historical habitat remains. Third, fracking water and chemicals have also resulted in adverse impacts or death in animals in the United States, such as cattle that drink from polluted streams or rivers. Fourth, invasive species are able to spread with roads and pipelines. Such species compete with native species for habitat and food.

Fracking poses two primary threats to water supply in Saskatchewan. First, fracking uses sizeable quantities of water. Typically, two to four million gallons of water are used for deep unconventional shale deposits. The oil and gas industry uses surface water and also draws heavily from ground water supplies. This will present hydrological concerns for the province in coming years. Second, hydrological changes can occur due to heightened surface and ground water withdrawal. This can have unforeseen effects on streams, floodplains, wetlands, springs, shallow ground water, and seep patterns in the province

Fracking poses two main threats to water quality in Saskatchewan due to the numerous chemicals that are mixed with water to frack. Ground water and surface water can be polluted by accidental leaks from the surface of shale pads, from chemical storage or during transportation routes. Second, methane can contaminate wells. Methane is a well-known and potent greenhouse gas and is also toxic to human beings and wildlife. This is not something the public wants in the water supply.

Honourable Scott Moe is the Minister of the Environment and the Minister Responsible for the Saskatchewan Water Security Agency. It is his job to safeguard wildlife and water on behalf of the public. To this end, we suggest that Mr. Moe take the necessary precautions to minimize the risks to public health and wildlife. For example, the government must implement distance boundary requirements for habitat of at risk species. Saskatchewan already has requirements that do not permit drilling within 100 meters distance of water bodies, occupied dwellings, public institutions, or urban regions. These boundary requirements should be extended to include habitat for at risk species. Also, the government should require companies to drill numerous wells from one well pad so as to minimize the amount of land disrupted.

In terms of water supply, Saskatchewan should also establish best practices for water withdrawal and screening procedures. This should, in the very least, include permits based on the seasonality of withdrawals and for withdrawals over certain sizes (as already required by New Brunswick and New York jurisdictions). Saskatchewan should ensure that water quantity monitoring is implemented before, during, and after fracking has occurred, and account for effects on fish and wildlife as well as aquifer depletion. When using ground water, non-potable sources should be used as this reduces competition with other water sources. In addition, the province should facilitate the use of municipal/industrial wastewater for fracking instead of allowing industry to overuse ground water.

And for water quality, Saskatchewan should ensure the least ecologically harmful chemicals are required where possible to offset risks associated with leakage, contamination, and storage. Importantly, the government should increase public disclosure and involvement. Companies are not required to publically reveal what chemicals are used in fracking. Saskatchewan should require its fracking industry to provide this information on www.fracfocus.ca (as already done in British Columbia and Alberta). Finally, to reduce ground water threats, Saskatchewan should have fracking located at certain and legally specified distances away from municipal, public or private water sources. Furthermore, even in these cases, proper impoundment liners should be mandatory so as to inhibit movement to water sources.

The truth of the matter is that fracking presents risks. The economic gains are well-known and the province is profiting through job creation and economic growth in the oil and gas sector. However, this should be a cautionary endeavor. Some jurisdictions, like New York and Quebec, opted to implement moratoriums on fracking to further investigate wildlife and public health concerns. Saskatchewan opted to forge ahead with fracking. Minister Moe is now tasked with ensuring that risks to the environment, including water supply and quality, are minimized. This is a major responsibility and one that must be taken very seriously because Saskatchewan’s people and the prairie ecosystem depend on it.

Framework for Safe Drinking Water

The Framework for Safe Drinking Water was completed in August 2011.

In Canada municipalities own and are responsible for drinking water treatment facilities and must supply the public with safe drinking water. This task is often more difficult in rural municipalities. Smaller communities generally have less expertise, fewer resources, and poorer quality source water than larger cities. Another problem is that most existing water treatment technologies are optimized for larger centres and may not work as well when scaled down. The Framework for Safe Drinking Water is meant to counter these challenges and streamline the daunting task of building new or updating older drinking water treatment facilities. By looking at it from both the legal and health perspectives we can help communities get the safest drinking water possible.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about the framework.

Education

Operation Water Drop - Allows students to perform hands-on tests on their local water and compare their water to other water samples and the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality

Operation Water Pollution - Students learn about what water pollution is, what can be done about the problem, and what they can personally do about the problem.

Operation Water Biology - Teaches students about chlorine, chloramine, ammonia, iron and biological water treatment (a more environmentally friendly method of treating drinking water)

Operation Water Health - Students are guided through an examination of health issues related to drinking water

Operation Water Flow - A cross-curricular program that gives students a more thorough understanding of issues surrounding drinking water

Operation Water Spirit - Conveys Aboriginal culture and perspectives regarding drinking water

Operation Community Water Footprint - Allows students to calculate how much source water their community uses in order to produce each litre of drinking water