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Canadian Teachers are Waiting to Educate Over 82,000 Canadian Students About Drinking Water Quality Issues and Solutions

Canadian teachers are currently waiting for the opportunity to educate over 82,000 Canadian students about drinking water quality issues and solutions. In order to be able to do this they will need over 3,400 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

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!

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


Released on July 3, 2014

The province is offering free water testing to Saskatchewan residents with private drinking water sources that may be affected by flooding.

The Saskatchewan Disease Control Laboratory will provide free bacteriological testing for residents who are concerned about whether well or cistern water affected by flooding is safe to drink.

“This free testing can help residents affected by flooding make sure their drinking water is safe and free of waterborne disease,” Health Minister Dustin Duncan said.

The free water testing is available until this flood event has ended. Local health regions can provide residents with information on whether they are eligible for free testing, sample containers and payment exempt requisition forms. Information on how to deal with flooded private wells and a list of health region contact numbers is available at

The Saskatchewan Water Security Agency also offers site assessments of flooded wells and cisterns, including testing of water used as a primary source of drinking water.

“Many areas across the province are dealing with flooding issues and we want to ensure everyone has access to safe drinking water,” Minister responsible for the Water Security Agency Scott Moe said.

If residents suspect that their private water source has been contaminated by flooding, they are advised to use an alternate water source such as bottled water. People are encouraged to watch for signs of flooding that may cause contamination of their water.

Once flood water has receded, individuals should disinfect (shock chlorinate) their well or cistern and submit a water sample for bacteriological testing. Information on shock chlorination and water quality is available at

Public water supplies are tested routinely, and are being closely monitored in flood areas to ensure the water is safe. Residents who use public drinking water sources can contact the owner/operator of their supply if they have any questions.

For updates and information on flood preparedness visit


For more information, contact:

Tyler McMurchy
Phone: 306-787-4083

Patrick Boyle
Water Security Agency
Moose Jaw
Phone: 306-694-8914

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:

Water Fact of the Week (Week of July 21st, 2014)

Canada’s oil – or tar – sands is the third-largest proven crude oil reserve in the world. And the mining of this reserve has been described as the most destructive project on Earth. Well, now Canadian government scientists have discovered that a 19,000 square kilometre ring of land and water surrounding the oil sands has been contaminated by mercury, a toxic metal that is considered by the World Health Organisation to be one of the top ten chemicals of major public health concern.

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?

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

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

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

Watch this Motivational Video!

Safe Drinking Water Foundation Educational Programs: Purpose and Results by Nicole Hancock

Did you know?
As of October 25th, 2013 there were 1,237 Boil Water Advisories and 48 Do Not Consume Orders across Canada.

Did you know?
As of September 30th, 2013 there were 123 First Nations communities across Canada under a Drinking Water Advisory. Approximately one in five First Nations communities are under a Drinking Water Advisory at any given time.

Did you know?
Some First Nations communities are enduring Water Advisories which have lasted longer than a decade, some examples:
Eabametoong First Nation - over 12 years
North Spirit Lake - over 12 years
Neskantaga - over 18 years
In 2011 the average duration of an advisory in a First Nations community was 772.6 days (more than two years!)

Did you know?
In 2013 there were three major municipalities in Canada which imposed Boil Water Advisories: Saskatoon, Montreal and Winnipeg.

What can be done about all of these problems? What can anyone do?

The Safe Drinking Water Foundation (SDWF) was founded in 1997 in order to assist rural communities in developing countries with their drinking water quality situation but it was soon decided that, because there are many rural and First Nations communities in Canada whose drinking water situations are almost as or just as bad as those of rural communities in developing countries, the foundation should work towards helping those in Canada who do not have safe drinking water.

I bet you know that students will be our future engineers, scientists, and our communities’, provinces’ and nation’s leaders! With that in mind, in 2001, the SDWF started creating and sending educational kits to schools. The SDWF sends 1,000 kits to schools across Canada every school year and these kits educate over 60,000 Canadian students about drinking water quality issues and solutions. Over 2,100 schools and other educational institutions have used SDWF kits with their students. After using the kits in their classrooms, teachers and students are encouraged and supported in taking action to share what they have learned with others and to alleviate drinking water quality issues in their regions.

Teachers request enough sponsored kits that 180,000 Canadian students could be directly educated by using these hands on, authentic, relevant kits every school year, but funding is lacking. Currently, Canadian teachers are waiting for over 2,600 sponsored kits to be sent to their schools!

There are four different types of SDWF educational kits:

Elementary Operation Water Drop – students in grades four to eight test their local drinking water and a control water sample for eight different components and then compare their results to the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality

High School Operation Water Drop – students in grades nine to twelve test their local drinking water, a raw water sample, an urban water sample, a rural water sample, and a control water sample for 13 different components and then compare their results to the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality

Operation Water Biology – students in grades nine to twelve learn about biological water treatment [a more effective and environmentally friendly method of treating drinking water compared to conventional (chemical) water treatment methods], they also learn about ammonia, iron, chlorine and chloramine by conducting hands on experiments

Operation Water Pollution – students in grades five to twelve learn about water pollution (what it is, what causes it, how it is cleaned up, what can be done about the problem, and what they can personally do about the problem). Students also participate in an activity in which they create a sample of polluted water, and learn about the differing economic realities which exist in communities in terms of having the resources available to filter polluted water.

All of these kits are available in French as well as English and the SDWF encourages and supports teachers and their students in taking action to share what they have learned with others and to alleviate drinking water quality issues in their regions after they have used these kits in their classrooms.

What are some of the reasons teachers gave for wanting sponsored kits when they requested the kits via our online form this fall?

Susan, a teacher at Robarts School for the Deaf in London, Ontario, requested sponsored kits because, “It is part of the school curriculum. We are involved in the Me to We program. We are involved with deaf students who need visual information and hands on material.”

Morgan, a teacher at Del Van Gorder School in Faro, Yukon Territories, requested sponsored kits and said, “Our remote community is closely tied to the land through traditions of hunting and fishing. As well, we live in the watershed of one of Canada's largest open pit mines. Many of the future jobs in this area will be related to mine reclamation and water protection.”

Arlene, a teacher at Colonsay School in Colonsay, Saskatchewan, requested sponsored kits and said, “Our school would like to receive the sponsored kits because of the location of our school and the area it serves. We have a variety of water sources at our students’ homes: rural farms, municipal water supplies, town water and Saskatoon city water. It would be interesting for the students to be able to examine and test these water sources and observe the differences.”

Paul, a teacher at Red Sucker Lake First Nation School in Red Sucker Lake, Manitoba, requested sponsored kits and stated, “We would like to have sponsored kits as these kits are very good educational materials that will help students understand water better. Water is a very basic need in order to survive and it is through these kits that they are able to examine, learn, experiment and explore how water becomes polluted, how it is cleaned, and the differences of water from various places. Through these kits, we are able to provide authentic learning experiences to our students aside from teaching them the theories behind these kits through lectures, and worksheets. These kits will serve as good instruments for students to actually apply what they have been learning about water in the books, and their previous years.”

Jacinta, a teacher at Baltimore School Complex in Ferryland, Newfoundland, requested sponsored kits and exclaimed, “I have used these before – they are such an excellent resource. We do not have access nor the financial means of purchasing one of these kits otherwise. They are a great addition to any science classroom! Thank you so much for this opportunity – I love using these kits and my students love them as well!”

The following is some of the feedback we received from teachers who were lucky enough to receive sponsored kits last school year:

Colleen, a grade eight teacher at John Diefenbaker School in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan said, “Very good program. Instructions were easy to follow and the students enjoyed testing our local water supply,” after using a sponsored Elementary Operation Water Drop kit with her students.

Greg, a grade five teacher at Calgary Science School in Calgary, Alberta exclaimed, “Program is great! It's great to have these kits to do water chemistry with our students,” after using a sponsored Elementary Operation Water Drop kit with his students.

Amy, a grade 11 teacher at Sussex Regional High School in Sussex, New Brunswick said, “My students really enjoyed using these kits. It provided them with an excellent opportunity to be actively involved in water quality education,” after using a sponsored High School Operation Water Drop kit with her students.

Michele, a grade 11 teacher at Turner Fenton Secondary School in Brampton, Ontario stated, “I find the kit to be very useful and comprehensive…Very good program and we have been collecting data on a local water supply for three years for comparison purposes,” after using a sponsored High School Operation Water Drop kit with her students.

Amy, a grade nine teacher at St. Catharines Collegiate in St. Catharines, Ontario exclaimed, “Very user friendly! Students loved the program!” after using a sponsored High School Operation Water Drop kit with her students.

Hayley, a grade 11 teacher at Edison School in Okotoks, Alberta stated, “The kits really help our efforts to increase hands-on real time learning. I didn't even have a pH meter before!” after using a sponsored Operation Water Pollution kit with her students.

Brad, a grade nine teacher at Green Learning Academy in Calgary, Alberta exclaimed, “I LOVE it!” after using a sponsored Operation Water Biology kit with his students.

Anthony, a grade eight teacher at Prince Arthur Junior High in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia said, “Thank you for all of these wonderful resources,” after using a sponsored Operation Water Biology kit with his students.

After students and teachers have used SDWF kits in their classrooms we encourage and support them in taking action to share information with others and to alleviate drinking water quality issues in their regions. The following are some of the actions teachers and their students took last school year after using SDWF kits:

Michele, a grade 11 teacher at Turner Fenton Secondary School in Brampton, Ontario said, “My experience with our student population is that they are very unaware of where their water comes from and how it is treated. So far most of the impact of our water testing in science class has been within the rest of the school population. Perspectives on water treatment, infrastructure, bottled water versus tap water, and the ban on pesticide and herbicide use on lawns have become topics of discussion with a broader group of students in higher level science classes as well as geography, economics and marketing classes. I believe more students within the school have a greater appreciation for the fact that what we flush down the drain ends up in their drinking water.”

Georgina, a grade eight teacher at Jack Donohue Public School in Kanata, Ontario stated that after they used a kit they held a full school event on water awareness.

David, a grade 12 teacher at Sugarloaf Senior High in Campbellton, New Brunswick said that after they used a High School Operation Water Drop kit in their classroom “students have been able to advise their parents and communities about safe drinking water.”

Anne, a grade five teacher at Wejgwapniag School in Gesgapegaig, Quebec stated that they “will begin the 2013-2014 school year with a walk throughout the community to pinpoint problem areas that could affect the water system and then see who we could contact to fix them.”

Hayley, a grade 11 teacher at Edison School in Okotoks, Alberta said that after they received an Operation Water Pollution kit they held “classes on eutrophication due to run off. Agricultural input of nitrates & phosphates. Lab on growth of algae in different concentrations of fertilizer. Assayed local golf course water before and after it flowed through the course in spring. Assayed water quality of the Sheep River as it flows through the town - thanks for the kits. Field trip to the local sewerage treatment facility - they remove phosphates before water is released into the Sheep River.”

Daryl, a grade 11 teacher at Acton District High School in Acton, Ontario stated that after they used an Operation Water Pollution kit in their classroom his students participated in public speaking and websites.

Can you help the SDWF to educate more future leaders about drinking water quality issues and solutions? We need you to visit and look at the map of the schools which are waiting for sponsored kits and buy a kit for a school. You could choose a school in your area, a school you attended, a school your children attend, any school you would like to receive a kit! If you would rather help with the SDWF’s efforts to get more kits to more schools in an overall manner then please visit and donate today. Official donation receipts for income tax purposes will be given for donations of $20 or more.

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.


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