Canadian Teachers are Waiting to Educate Over 142,000 Canadian Students About Drinking Water Quality Issues and Solutions

Canadian teachers are currently waiting for the opportunity to educate over 142,000 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 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

Water related news. If you have any news that you would like us to include on this section of our website please e-mail

Dave Stewart, The Guardian January 22, 2015

Guardian photo by Heather Taweel

City workers make repairs to a Charlottetown water and sewer line this week near Queen Street. The city’s infrastructure is comprised of piping that varies in age from the newly installed in 2014 to the very old from 1888.

Committee chair says infrastructure must be Charlottetown’s priority

It’s time to get serious about Charlottetown’s aging water and sewer infrastructure, says Coun. Eddie Rice.

The chairman of the water and sewer committee says it’s an issue that needs to be top priority.

Like most municipal water and sewer systems across North America, Charlottetown’s infrastructure is comprised of piping that varies in age from the newly installed in 2014 to the very old from 1888.

Rice provided The Guardian with information that indicates the capital city has roughly 485 kilometres of water and sewer piping with more than 45 per cent of it older than 50 years.

A bit more than 22 per cent of it is older than 80 years.

The typical life expectancy of water and sewer piping is between 80 and 100 years.

Rice says to avoid major failures the city needs to begin a rehabilitation program that achieves approximately one per cent of the system rehabilitated or replaced each year going forward.

With $14 billion set to roll out of the new Building Canada Fund over the next decade and $2 billion coming out of the federal government’s gas tax fund, Rice said the money to help is there.

“We have a chance to go to the feds for infrastructure money. This is the very thing that fits the mandate,’’ Rice said. “We’re going to have to start the program the same way we started the harbour program and the same way we had to start the new well field and conservation (initiative).’’

The harbour program Rice refers to the storm water/sanitary water separation project that will eliminate sewage from pouring into the Hillsborough River when heavy rains occur.

One per cent would represent 4.85 kilometres of network rehabilitation each year with an estimated cost of close to $6 million.

The utility is planning to begin an annual program this year to achieve that goal.

In addition to infrastructure projects already planned this year, the utility is planning to rehabilitate 1.63 kilometres of sewer system that has been shown to have a high inflow and infiltration problem during rain and snow melt events.

The inflow and infiltration problem has resulted in sewer surcharging and impacted on customers.

The estimated cost of this project is $2.7 million.

Reid Southwick, Calgary Herald January 22, 2015

City hall will give developers the green light to build long-awaited homes and businesses in northwest Calgary in the fall of 2016 after problems with sewer capacity led to a development freeze.

Crews will begin installing a new sewage pipeline through Bowness in the coming days, using a German tunnel-digging machine that will save the city time and money.

Calgary Herald reporter Reid Southwick explains five things you should know about the project.

Construction begins on the sanitary trunk project in Calgary, on January 21, 2015.
Leah Hennel / Calgary Herald

City hall will give developers the green light to build long-awaited homes and businesses in northwest Calgary in the fall of 2016 after problems with sewer capacity led to a development freeze.

Crews will begin installing a new sewage pipeline through Bowness in the coming days, using a German tunnel-digging machine that will save the city time and money.

Calgary Herald reporter Reid Southwick explains five things you should know about the project.

City of Calgary manhole cover.
Calgary Herald

Arrested development

A study that evaluated city infrastructure and its capacity to accommodate Calgary’s explosive growth found the Bowness sewer main cannot handle additional flow.

This “peak toilet” crisis means that building new homes and businesses would increase the risks of sewage backing up into basements, especially during heavy rain storms, until a new sewer line is built.

City hall halted development across a massive swath of northwest Calgary, with few exceptions, essentially banning growth in a dozen entire communities, including Royal Oak, Tuscany and Rocky Ridge, along with parts of a few others.

A framer works on constructing a roof on a house in northwest Calgary.
Christina Ryan / Calgary Herald

A growing inventory

Construction companies are now lined up to start building more than 200 homes and several businesses as soon as the new sewer line is installed below street level, Coun. Ward Sutherland said.

City hall has guaranteed developers that they can connect their residential and commercial projects to the new sewer pipe in September 2016.

“There’s some significant building within city limits that will occur once this trunk is finished,” Sutherland said.

The new line, he said, is projected to accommodate northwest growth through to 2026.

Shouldice Bridge, over the Bow River, near where a new sewer line will go.
Stuart Gradon Stuart Gradon / Calgary Herald

Light at the end of the tunnel

The new sewer pipeline will extend from the northwest corner of Shouldice Park, across the Bow River, beneath the Trans-Canada Highway, north on 67th Street N.W. and will end on Bow Crescent.

Crews will install the two-kilometre-long pipe below street level and the Bow River without digging a trench, said Brian Fahy, site manager with Ward and Burke Microtunnelling.

They will use a German machine that will drill a tunnel, roughly one-metre wide, through dirt and rock. Crews have dug a hole more than 14 metres deep and eight metres wide in Shouldice Park, where the project begins.

From the base of the hole, the machine will drill two tunnels beneath the Bow River, a common practice for beneath water crossings, and they will join up with a single tunnel on the other end.

Drilling will begin Friday or Saturday.

Brian Fahy, site manager, checks the drill that is being used on the sanitary trunk project in Calgary, on January 21, 2015.
Leah Hennel / Calgary Herald

This is no Nintendo

The tunnel-digging machine will be remotely controlled by an operator at street level, using a laser-guidance system. The operator will gauge pressure on the pipe and the drill itself, and will know whether to move the drill up, down, right or left.

The drill pushes water into the soil to soften it up as steel disks with tungsten carbine teeth cut up rock and boulders while other ridges knock out the dirt, Fahy said.

The drill then sucks the dirt and excess water back to the surface. The first leg of the route — two tunnels through a 210-metre stretch across the Bow River from Shouldice Park — is expected to yield about 50 truckloads full of dirt.

As the machine moves forward, other equipment will push sections of pipe into the tunnel.

Construction begins on the sanitary trunk project in Calgary, on January 21, 2015.
Leah Hennel / Calgary Herald

Saving time, money and headaches

Crews can work on the pipeline 24/7, avoiding restrictive work hours imposed on typical construction projects.

Unlike open-pit sewer installation work, where crews tear up streets, clog traffic and cause a racket, the tunnel-digger will operate relatively quietly underground. According to Sutherland, it will be as noisy as an air conditioner.

“The trucks will actually be louder than the pit,” he said.

This approach is expected to shave millions from the project’s cost and allow crews to finish the work much faster.

Chinta Puxley, The Canadian Press January 20, 2015

CROSS LAKE, Man. - Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger is apologizing to aboriginal communities for the damage hydro-electric development has done to their traditional land, way of life and cultural identity.

In a speech to the Cross Lake First Nation on Tuesday, Selinger said hydro development has changed water levels affecting everything from transportation and water quality to hunting and trapping.

"The effects are more than just those on land and water and on plants and animals," Selinger told about 200 gathered for what the community called a day of reconciliation. "We recognize that hydro development can affect the cultural identities of aboriginal peoples because of the close relationship of aboriginal peoples to the land and resources.

"Looking back on what has happened and on the effects on aboriginal communities in Manitoba, I wish now on behalf of the government of Manitoba to express my sincere apology to aboriginal people affected by hydro development."

Agreements have been reached with many First Nations to address the effects, Selinger said. The province and Manitoba Hydro are committed to continuing to work respectfully with aboriginal people, he added.

Selinger agreed to visit Cross Lake following a six-week occupation of the Jenpeg generating station last fall. Protesters had said they wouldn't leave the grounds of the dam until they received a personal apology from the premier.

The occupation ended in November with an agreement to negotiate the First Nation's concerns over revenue-sharing, environmental cleanup and help with residential electricity bills that hover around $600 a month in the winter.

Chief Catherine Merrick told the gathering that hydro development in the area has forced people to move and disturbed graves along the lakeshore. People have also "died as a result of dangerous ice and floating debris caused by Jenpeg," she said.

"The hydro project has also contributed to mass unemployment and mass poverty for our people. It has piled on top of the other difficulties we have faced," she said.

"It is not possible to capture in words the damage done. Much of the harm is irreparable. It has forever changed our ways of life and our health.

Merrick said nothing can truly replace what has been lost.

"That is a bitter reality we must live with. All we can do is stand here today to let out the grief and to heal our nation. Mr. Premier, you have contributed to that healing today."

Hundreds of protesters from the First Nation north of Lake Winnipeg marched to the hydro dam on Oct. 16. The generating station continued to operate during the occupation, but protesters wouldn't let anyone in or out.

The band signed an agreement in 1977 after the Jenpeg dam was built, but Merrick said their traditional lands are regularly transformed into a floodway and none of the promised economic development and employment programs materialized.

During the occupation, Selinger was sympathetic and said protesters have some long-standing concerns that need to be addressed. But his apology is only the beginning of reconciliation, Merrick said.

"The apology does not fix the past. It does not even fix the present," she said. "Our lands, waters and resources are still a mess. Our people still lack a fair share of the opportunity generated by the river. Our people still have to face debilitating hydro bills."

Jenpeg is about 525 kilometres north of Winnipeg and is key in Manitoba Hydro's northern electricity generation. The dam helps regulate the level of Lake Winnipeg, which has become swollen in recent years due to flooding. It also acts as a reservoir for other northern generating stations.

Winnipeg Free Press January 21, 2015

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency commissioner John Linc Stine (left), Conservation and Water Stewardship Minister Gord Mackintosh, Kent Lokkesmoe of Minnesota's DNR and Dunnottar Mayor Rick Gamble sign the agreement Tuesday.

Minnesota has become the first U.S. state to sign a Manitoba-initiated accord to protect Lake Winnipeg.

The provincial government announced the state's commitment as the International Red River Basin Commission kicked off a three-day conference in Winnipeg on Tuesday.

"Minnesota has formally joined the growing list of signatories to the accord and the increasing effort to protect water quality across the Lake Winnipeg basin," Conservation and Water Stewardship Minister Gord Mackintosh said.

"The Red River is the single largest source of nutrients to Lake Winnipeg, and by working together we will reduce nutrients and improve water quality. Minnesota is a leader in nutrient-reduction measures and we look forward to building on recent efforts."

The accord was signed by commissioner John Linc Stine on behalf of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and commissioner Tom Landwehr on behalf of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

The Manitoba government and the Lake Winnipeg South Basin Mayors and Reeves first partnered in June 2013 to announce the Lake Friendly Accord and establish the Lake Friendly Stewards Alliance. The goal is to improve water quality by reducing nutrients in rivers and lakes.

The Minnesota signing occurred during the International Red River Basin Commission's 32nd annual conference at the Fort Garry Hotel.

For more information, visit

Colette Derworiz, Calgary Herald January 20, 2015

Cougar Creek rips through Canmore during heavy flooding on June 21, 2013
Jonathan Hayward / The Canadian Press

CANMORE — A $37-million dry dam in Canmore’s Cougar Creek has been approved by council, but elected officials have asked the town to hold off on construction until all provincial money for the project is secured.

The flood and debris retention structure will be used to prevent future flooding along the mountain creek, which turned into a raging torrent during the June 2013 floods and damaged dozens of homes.

“This is one of the most critical decisions made by town council in a generation,” Mayor John Borrowman said during Tuesday’s council meeting. “We’re talking about protecting lives, property and infrastructure.

“We’re talking about something that would protect for many generations.”

The structure, which would be 30 metres high and 95 metres wide, will hold back 650,000 cubic metres of water and sediment in a retention basin for a number of hours during a major flood event. By comparison, there was about 90,000 cubic metres of debris in the 2013 flood, which led to the evacuation of 1,200 residents from 300 homes near the creek.

It has led to concerns among some residents worried about the environmental impact.

On Tuesday, councillors Vi Sandford and Ed Russell voted against the project’s approval due to concerns over its environmental and financial costs.

“If we go down this road, we will bear the future costs,” said Sandford, noting there’s no guarantee provincial grant funding will come through. “If the dam is not properly funded, it becomes a huge risk and liability — far more than even the natural landscape can throw at us.”

Russell was also concerned about both the costs to build and for future maintenance.

“At the bottom end of the problem for me is how are we going to pay the bills,” he said. “I am worried we are committing the Town of Canmore way over our heads as far as money.”

Others suggested it’s critical infrastructure required for the town to deal with future floods.

“Failure to support this project, I believe, actually condemns that entire neighbourhood to an unacceptable level of risk,” said Coun. Sean Krausert. “I don’t think we can afford not to do it.”

A proposed flood retention structure on Cougar Creek in Canmore.
Town of Canmore

The town has about $20 million set aside for the project.

Tuesday’s decision allows administration to spend up to $3 million on an environmental assessment and detailed design of the project.

It does, however, delay awarding any construction tender on the dam until the town secures the final $18 million from the province’s Flood Erosion Control Program — money that hasn’t yet been forwarded and could be delayed due to the province’s financial situation.

Town officials noted the rest of the money for the project likely won’t be needed until 2016 or 2017.