Canadian Teachers are Waiting to Educate Over 61,000 Canadian Students About Drinking Water Quality Issues and Solutions

Canadian teachers are currently waiting for the opportunity to educate over 61,000 Canadian students about drinking water quality issues and solutions. In order to be able to do this they will need over 1,700 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 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 or phone 306-934-0389.


Learn More About Our Two New Education Programs

Operation Water Biology
Operation Community Water Footprint

Student Action on Canadian Water Attitudes Competition

UPDATE: We are happy to announce the WINNERS of the Student Action on Canadian Water Attitudes Competition! Wildflower School in Nelson, BC won the Elementary Category of the competition and St. Joseph High School in Edmonton, AB won the High School Category of the competition. Students in Nelson (BC), Edmonton (AB), Estevan (SK), Winnipeg (MB), London (ON), and Grimsby (ON) participated in the competition.

Elementary Winner: Wildflower School

The grade one to six students at Wildflower School became involved with their city’s toilet-tank-bag campaign and became their ambassadors. Their class was featured with the toilet-tank bags in a double-page spread in their local newspaper. They gave a presentation at a Principals Association meeting and the principals distributed toilet-tank-bags to their own staff members and schools. The students had an informational booth at their local Co-op food store, complete with a real toilet, which they used to demonstrate the installation of the bags. They surveyed and informed the public and handed out hundreds of bags. The students wrote individual letters to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, before the Paris Climate Summit, to ask him to protect Canada’s water and to inform him of Nelson’s water issues. The students also talked to their city’s mayor and city council. The Chair of Blewett Watershed visited their classroom and the class went on a field trip to visit their local watershed, on snowshoes! The students became very motivated to help others conserve water and they also became very knowledgeable about the waterways around them.

Students from Wildflower School have an information table at their local Co-op in Nelson, BC.

The students at Wildflower School had sent a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. They received a letter from him.

High School Winner: St. Joseph High School

At this school, two Science 10 students of Science Academy – Center of Excellence in Laboratory Learning contacted the local Gold Bar Water Treatment Plant to obtain information about water treatment processes, water conservation, and water quality. They also joined the Chemistry 20 group from the same program to learn how to examine drinking water quality; they used Safe Drinking Water Foundation kits to test drinking water. The students taught other classrooms of students at their school what they had learned. They used blue jello to demonstrate water treatment processes, with treats of various sizes immersed in the jello to represent particles and bacteria present in water that have to be removed during filtration, flocculation, and disinfection processes. The level of knowledge in the school regarding practical water conservation methods and quality of drinking water increased dramatically. The participating students gained confidence that they can play an important role and be a positive influence in their community.

BlueJelloRepresentingWater  St Joseph Water Testing

Watch the webinar which was held on March 22nd, 2016 (World Water Day) to celebrate the winners of the competition.

Thanks to funding from RBC's Blue Water Project, the Safe Drinking Water Foundation (SDWF) is privileged and excited to hold the Student Action on Canadian Water Attitudes competition.

Since 2001, the SDWF has been providing schools with the materials and support necessary to educate young Canadians about water quality issues through its distribution of water education kits to over 2,400 schools across Canada.

Taking place during the 2015-2016 school year; this competition is being offered to students, in Kindergarten to grade 12, across the country to investigate water issues in their city, or a city near them, with a population of 10,000 or more. The winning classes/groups will be presented with at least one water bottle filling station, reusable water bottles, and SDWF educational kits as part of a prize package valued at $6,500!

Students were tasked with understanding and educating residents in the community on their choice of issues such as: flood control due to impermeable surfaces, amount of energy required to treat water, high daily water consumption of Canadians, and uses of potable water. Along with the focus on water quality and security, students learned how to conduct baseline surveys, process data, and create a report. Their projects had five steps:

1. They brainstormed and decided on a water issue in their community to address.
2. They conducted preliminary surveys.
3. They developed a plan and took action to educate and involve people in the community concerning the water issues they chose to address.
4. They conducted follow-up surveys.
5. They presented the results of their efforts (i.e. report and pictures/videos/etc.) which will be judged by a panel of water experts in order to declare the two winning groups of students.

We held webinars to teach students how to do every step of the project.

Blog about the competition: 

If you have any questions about the competition or would like more information, please do not hesitate to contact Tim Vogel, Project Manager or Nicole Hancock, Executive Director at 1-306-934-0389 or

Judging Information

The judges (SDWF staff members for the objective categories and volunteers for the subjective categories) will give marks for each of the following categories:

Objective criteria, marked by SDWF staff members

1. Percentage of people who now know where the city’s drinking water comes from (out of 5 possible marks)

2. Number of community members who were engaged in the project (out of 5 possible marks)

3. Litres of water conserved or area of impermeable surface made permeable (out of 5 possible marks) – if actions were made in both areas the one for which the higher mark would be awarded will be judged.

Subjective criteria, marked by volunteers

4. Students changed community members’ attitudes and/or behaviours regarding water (out of 5 possible marks)

5. Pictures and/or videos were included which represent the project (5 marks, 3 marks or 1 mark)

6. Community Members of Various Ages Were Engaged in the Project (out of 3 possible marks)

Judges’ and Safe Drinking Water Foundation staff members' decisions will be final.

Our Volunteer Judges

Jason Ash

Jason Ash's B.Sc. in Mining Engineering and MA in Management has complemented a ten year career as a sustainability professional. This experience has included regulating water use in the Northwest Territories, managing the environmental department of an active mine, and managing the environmental assessment of a potash mining project in Saskatchewan. 

Jania Chilima

Jania Chilima holds a B.Sc. (Hons.) of a joint degree in Environmental Resource Science & Business Administration from Trent University, Ontario Canada. She also has a Masters of Environment and Sustainability (M.E.S.) degree from University of Saskatchewan in Canada, where she is currently a Doctoral candidate researching water resources management and community of water users within the School of Environment and Sustainability & Global Institute for Water Security.

Jania Chilima is also a fellow of the Collaborative Research and Training Experience Program in Human and Ecological Risk Assessment (CREATE HERA) of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada (2011-2014). She has a number of other professional and industry level certificates such as in: Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) Phase 1; Social Impact Assessment by the International Association of Impact Assessment (IAIA); and Environmental Monitoring for aquatic and terrestrial environment by EMAN Network of the Ministry of Environment Canada.

Jania Chilima has taken teacher education short courses on skills and competencies development for working in academic institutions. She has taught both undergraduate and graduate students, in Tanzania and Canada. At University of Saskatchewan, she has been a visiting or invited lecturer at the School of Public Health, Edwards School of Business, and Department of Geography and Planning. Jania Chilima has worked as research assistant directly involved in curriculum development for Edwards School of Business, the goal of which is to align the community engagement components of the school with the university guiding documents. Outside University teaching, she worked with grade 8 students and their teachers from Caswell Community School, which is part of the Saskatoon Public School (SPS) division, to complete a mini-module educational program on water issues in our region. This was part of SPS Earth and Space Science: Water Systems on Earth (WS) curriculum for talented students (Advanced Placement).

Jania is very interested in pro-bono work/volunteering especially in the water sector and organizations with a focus on quality of life in Saskatoon. She has participated as an adjudicator for students' projects and award committees at University of Saskatchewan (multiple departments and divisions) and with Meewasin Valley Authority and Partners FOR the Saskatchewan River Basin (Agrium Caring for our Watersheds Contest: Grade 7 – 12).

Peter Davey

Peter Davey is the managing editor of Environmental Science and Engineering Magazine (ES&E) and has been involved in the water and wastewater industry for a number of years. He is also a member of the Water Environment Association of Ontario’s Young Professional Committee.

In the capacity of managing editor of ES&E, Peter has attended many industry events and conferences across North America. In 2014, he was invited to attend a Canadian press tour of Poland’s environmental industry. Peter has worked with authors, and edited articles, for a number of water and infrastructure awareness projects. He has a strong interest in evaluating public awareness campaigns.

Allison Long

Allison Long is currently Manager of Environmental Initiatives for RBC. This position allows her to manage RBC’s environmental footprint, including energy and water consumption as well as waste management programs. She also focuses on greening major RBC events such as the RBC Canadian Open and the RBC Run for the Kids. Allison is always looking for exciting new ways to engage and inform colleagues about RBC’s environmental initiatives.

Prior to her current role at RBC, Allison studied at McGill University’s School of the Environment, and also obtained her Masters of Applied Science from Ryerson University. As part of her Master’s degree she studied the impact of tourism on sea turtle populations in Indonesia. She later managed the Corporate Sustainability Program for a luxury hotel chain for four years. Allison is a sports enthusiast who especially loves competitive swimming and triathlon.

June Ross

My name is June Ross. I live in Nanaimo, BC, which is considered the mid island of Vancouver Island. I love our Island immensely and will do whatever I can to protect it.

I was a National Representative with CUPE and worked on the mainland (Fraser Valley and Vancouver), Winnipeg, and then finished my career once I got to the Island. I have been retired for 12 years and I love retirement a great deal. Some weeks, I am so busy I feel like I am back at work!!

In 2005,a small water service in French Creek went up for sale and because the Regional District was reluctant to take it on it was bought by EPCOR. We fought very hard to not have this service go into private hands, but could not get the residents of the area to understand what would occur once it was privatized. EPCOR had also approached the City of Nanaimo in 2005 to take over their water service and a huge fight began once again to get the City to opt out of a letter of understanding between EPCOR and the City of Nanaimo that had been drawn up without any citizen involvement whatsoever. We won this latter battle, but lost the French Creek battle. This was the beginning of Vancouver Island Water Watch Coalition. I am the acting chair of this group of activists and Editor of the website
The activists are from various coalitions up and down the Island and they are amazing…. VIWWC is grassroots driven and has been successful in many endeavours on the Island.

I have ONE 3 year old grandson and my major goal is to leave him a planet he can live on!

Caleigh Rutledge

Caleigh Rutledge
Caleigh Rutledge is a 2014 graduate of the Carleton Environmental Engineering program. She currently specializes in wastewater engineering solutions as a member of the BluMetric Environmental Inc. Systems Design team and resides in Ottawa, Ontario. BluMetric has projects all over the world, and most recently she has had the unique opportunity to work on water related projects in Canada’s North as well as on the Panama Canal expansion.

In her free time, Caleigh is a competitive dressage (horseback) rider, and commits many hours a week to the sport. She also coaches the Carleton University Engineering Debate team and participates in the Carleton University Alumni Mentorship Program.

Reid Smith

Reid is a Senior Environmental Geoscientist for ARKTIS Solutions Inc (ARKTIS) with 11 years of experience in the areas of hydrogeology, aqueous geochemistry, environmental site assessment, environmental permitting and licensing, mine closure and reclamation planning and research, and mine closure financial security analysis. In his role at ARKTIS, Reid provides project management and technical lead services in environmental site assessment, mining closure and reclamation, and geoscientific projects.

Reid completed his education at Acadia University (Bachelor of Environmental Sciences) in Wolfville, Nova Scotia and Queen’s University (Masters of Applied Science, Civil Engineering) in Kingston, Ontario.

Dr. Jamie Van Gulck

Dr. Jamie VanGulck
Jamie received a B.E.Sc. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Western Ontario and a Ph.D. in Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering from Queen’s University.

Jamie is a Principal and founding partner with Arktis Solutions Inc. and lead engineer within the organization. Jamie’s roles include contributing to the strategic, business and financial operations of the organizations, as well as, lead technical resource and project management. Prior to being a co-founder for Arktis Solutions Inc., Jamie worked as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Manitoba.

Jamie’s experiences span the following sectors: cold regions engineering; mining; northern infrastructure development; policy and regulatory review and development; land and environment management, and research and development. He has authored and co-authored numerous technical papers in various refereed journals and conferences. Additionally, he has contributed to the development of regulations and guidance documents for Government and Aboriginal organizations in the sectors of mining and municipal infrastructure.

Thank you so much to all of these busy professionals who have taken the time to help us with our competition!