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SDWF MISSION. Encourage the universality of safe drinking water by supporting innovative research and development. Increase awareness of health concerns from consumption of poor quality water.

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sdwf mission
  • Encourage the universality of safe drinking water by supporting innovative research and development.
  • Increase awareness of health concerns from consumption of poor quality water.
  • Act as a policy advocate to ensure appropriate action is taken to provide safe drinking water to all people.
safe drinking water in canada
  • Here in Canada, we assume that our water is always safe to drink, and that we have a constant supply...After all, Canada has over 21% of the world's fresh water, which represents 85% of the fresh water in North America. We may be aware of the fact that 1.1 billion people do not have sufficient access to safe water, and that 2.6 billion people have no access at all to sanitation and clean water. But here is Canada? We're fine, right? Wrong...
boil water advisories
  • Health Canada presently tells 95 rural communities to continue their Boil Water Advisories, and another 85 communities have water systems near breakdown. As of Tuesday May 12th, 2009, reported the following BWAs across Canada: 258 - BC; 10 - AB; 222 - SK; 64 - Man.; 90 - Ont.; 54 - QU; 160 - NF; 4 - Lab.; 5 - NB; 52 - NS; 1 - PEI; 2 - YK/NWT; there were also a total of 23 "Do Not Drink" orders across Canada.
maybe the communities with bwas are the lucky ones
Maybe the Communities with BWAs are the Lucky Ones!
  • SDWF scientists repeatedly help communites who Health Canada have not acurately or competently assesed their drinking water and have wrongly advised them that their water is safe when in reality they too should be on a BWA!
canadian drinking water guidelines
Canadian Drinking Water Guidelines
  • 83 Health-based
  • 20 Aesthetic
  • 6 Health and aesthetic
  • Health Canada’s monitoring program community treatment and distribution system is as follows:
  • Weekly – 4 parameters (Coliforms, E. coli and Chlorine Residuals (Total & Free))
  • Quarterly – Trihalomethanes on some systems
  • Annually – 15 health-based, 13 aesthetic and parameters that do not have guidelines.
  • The other guidelines? Every FIVE years!
canadian drinking water guidelines6
Canadian Drinking Water Guidelines
  • If you board a plane and the crew tells you that there are 109 mechanical checks, they have completed 4 of them this week but the plane is safe to fly would you take the flight?
water pollution
  • Some communities are struggling with pollution issues - trichloroethylene in Beckwith, Ont.; trihalomethanes and other surface water contaminants in SK; nitrates in NS; etc. Canada uses many pesticides which have never been properly assessed and continue to be used in spite of increasing and overwhelming scientific evidence that they cause cellular damage and death. Per year, Canada has over 90 000 water-related illnesses and ~ 90 water-related deaths (Source:, Oct. 2006).
bottled water
  • Bottled water is a temporary solution for some people, but it is only a band-aid, and represents another concern about water. Not only does it have a significant negative impact on the environment (removing large quantities of water from one source, putting it in plastic, using energy to transport it, etc), but it is not well-regulated. Of the 18 regulations pertaining to bottled water, only 3 deal with the actual quality of water (the rest are marketing and labeling) and inspections take place every 12 - 18 months. The regulations do NOT test for nor detect chemical contaminants.
sdwf knowledge and fact sheets
  • The SDWF helps people become more aware and knowledgeable, they have developed over 40 comprehensive Fact Sheets covering everything from waterborne illnesses to social justice issues around water, to climate change and chlorination - all of which are free and downloadable from the website. Students, as our future citizens, must become fully literate in environmental issues if they are going to be properly prepared to make informed decisions for themselves and others.
sdwf school programs
  • Available to all schools anywhere in North America!
  • All lessons can be downloaded directly from our website.
  • Curriculum Connections for respective provinces and lessons are listed online.
sdwf school programs11
  • Available Programs: Operation Water Drop, Operation Water Pollution, Operation Water Health, Operation Water Flow, Operation Water Spirit, Template for Change
  • We are honoured to be recognized as Environmental Programs of Excellence by Green Street since 2002.
  • Apply online at for your school to receive their free OWD and/or OWP kit – up to 200 schools have been funded!
operation water drop owd

Dates for Distribution of kits -

Elementary and/or High School kits

2008 October 6, October 20, November 3 &

November 17.

2009 March 2, March 16, March 30, April 14, April 27, May 11 & May 25.



  • Elementary teachers can demonstrate seven scientific tests on their own community drinking water: Alkalinity, Colour, Total Hardness, Chlorine, Hetrotrophic Plate Count, pH and Sulphate.
  • High School teachers can guide their students to work in groups and test for the below seven compounds, as well as an additional six analytical tests: Ammonium, Arsenic, Copper, Iron, Manganese and Nitrate.


  • Students can compare their local water to three other sample waters as well as to a control medium.
  • The other water samples should include an Urban treated drinking water, a Rural treated drinking water and a Raw untreated source water, and then compare results from these waters to their own community drinking water.
  • Water samples from an Urban treated drinking water, a Rural treated drinking water and a Raw untreated source water are available on request from SDWF, with a fee to cover postage of $20 for High Schools.


Expectations of Program

  • To encourage students to develop “critical thinking skills” which will empower them to become actively involved in issues such as ensuring safe drinking water within their community, and on a global scale.


  • Many chapters of TD Friends of the Environment Foundation will fund schools in Canada
  • Contact info@safewater.orgfor more information.
  • Operation Water Drop is available for a cost recovery fee of:
  • Elementary Schools - Grades 4 to 8: $50
  • High Schools - Grades 9 to 12: $100
  • Please note CAD funds for Canadian and U.S. Schools.
  • If you are ordering from the U.S. please send an additional $8.00 to cover shipping and handling.


  • Designed for use in both Elementary and High School classrooms.
  • Directly connects with Science and Social Studies curricula and is set up as content-integrated lessons. The series of eleven lessons guides students through an examination of water pollution issues.
  • The students discover how water pollution is reversed and what they can do to affect change in their community with regards to water pollution.
  • Every lesson includes additional suggested activities and resources, along with references to other sources of information.


  • How it works
  • Lesson plans, PowerPoint presentations and all resources are available online. All material is downloaded by the teacher for review prior to receiving the TDS and pH meters.
  • Cost
  • The cost of Operation Water Pollution is $100 and includes both a TDS and pH meter. It should be noted that each meter is reusable and remains viable for approximately two years. Many school kits are available free of charge as a result of different sponsors such as Green Street and TD Friends of Environment Foundation.
  • End Goals
  • Students develop definitions of polluted drinking water that serves
  • as the backbone for the other lessons in this program.


  • Designed for use in both Elementary and High School classrooms.
  • Directly connects with Health, Science and Social Studies curricula and is set up as content-integrated lessons.
  • Teachers may choose to present one of the lessons or all of the lessons as they find the material to be most suitable or applicable for their students and related subject lesson plans.


  • Through a variety of activities and cooperative learning strategies, the students explore common disease-causing microbes found in water, how these microbes are removed or inactivated in water with water treatment and the diseases these microbes cause when they are not identified and treated in drinking water systems.
  • How it works
  • Lesson plans, PowerPoint presentations and all resources are available online, for review and for teachers to print.


  • Cost
  • There is no cost for the program; lessons may be downloaded at any time from the Safe Drinking Water Foundation website free of charge. We do ask that teachers register before downloading simply to monitor teacher evaluations which help us to improve the lessons annually.
  • End Goals
  • Students develop definitions for both healthy and unhealthy drinking water and these definitions serve as the backbone for the other lessons in this program.


  • OWF encourages teachers of Math, Chemistry, Biology and Social Studies to support the Science teacher in order to give students a more thorough understanding of issues surrounding drinking water.
  • OWF is available free of charge online at
  • Visitors to the website are asked to register their contact information before downloading the OWF lesson plans.


  • OWF encourages students to establish the true cost of water (economic and environmental); the social responsibilities of providing safe drinking water; the need for national regulations; and the need for water conservation and source water protection, etc.
  • Operation Water Flow supports and encourages a broad understanding of information related to drinking water issues.
  • OWF is available for grades 6 to 12.
operation water flow owf

Math or Social Studies?

  • Indian and Northern Affairs Canada allows Aboriginal people 235 litres per day of safe water!
  • Non-Aboriginal communities are under provincial laws and vary, but they are probably similar to Saskatchewan which allows non-Aboriginal people approx. 456 litres per day!
  • Grade 9 “I use that much water?” Looks at ways to conserve water.
  • SDWF believes non-Aboriginal people should have no problem living with the same water consumption as Aboriginal people!


End Goals

  • That students incorporate their newfound knowledge into their presentations of their Operation Water Drop results.
operation water spirit ows
  • OWS is a collection of thematic units and lesson plans which will reinforce Aboriginal culture and perspectives regarding water for Aboriginal students - while at the same time provide an Aboriginal perspective to non-Aboriginal students about water issues.

Operation Water Spirit invites teachers to encourage classroom discussions to enable students to gain a closer understanding of Aboriginal issues and perspectives surrounding drinking water.



  • OWS is available free of charge online at
  • Visitors are asked to register their contact information before downloading the OWS lesson plans.
  • OWS is available for grades K to 12.
  • Students will learn that not everyone has safe drinking water and Aboriginal people are the greatest protectors of our environment, encouraging the need for water conservation and source water protection, etc.


Expectations of Teachers

  • To present Operation Water Spirit in an open and caring atmosphere to encourage students to view Aboriginal issues by “walking in their moccasins” for the duration of these lessons.

Expectations of Students

  • To be receptive to new perspectives and to leave all racial prejudice behind.

End Goals

  • A closer relationship and understanding of water issues between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students.
template for change t4c
  • Template for Change (T4C) includes 12 DVDs contained in one wallet. Presentations are by Engineers, Microbiologists and Scientists from around the world giving a global perspective, and an independent, non-government look at water issues. It includes speakers from First Nations as well as: 


  • Dr. David Suzuki, Guest Speaker, presenting on The Challenge to Scientists -  Getting the Message Out.
  • Dr. David Schindler, Professor of Biology at the University of Alberta and Chairman of SDWF, presentingThe Effects of Environmental Degradation on Native Communities.
  • Dr. Hans Peterson, Executive Director of the Safe Drinking Water Foundation, presenting Battling the Odds to Produce Safe Drinking Water.


  • T4C is available for a cost recovery fee of $75 and can be ordered online at
  • It is also funded by some chapters of TD Friends of the Environment Foundation.
  • Schools are encouraged to order Template for Change once students have participated in Operation Water Flow, Operation Water Spirit, Operation Water Health, Operation Water Pollution and, most of all, in Operation Water Drop - to test and compare their own community drinking water.


  • Students can then organize community awareness evenings to pass on their newfound knowledge to community citizens and leaders. This is also an opportunity for students to fundraise by charging a small admission fee to attendees.
  • Dr. Hans Peterson, Voluntary Executive Director of the SDWF, will donate one hour of his time to a one-hour “phone-in” where he will answer questions from concerned individuals participating in local Template for Change workshops.
the water drop
THE WATER DROP_______________________________
  • The Water Drop is the monthly youth water issues newsletter published by the Safe Drinking Water Foundation that is available in English and French on their website
  • Students are encouraged to provide articles, puzzles and to translate issues of The Water Drop in return for payment, thanks to sponsorship for this project from Green Street, or for community service hours that are required in some provinces for graduation from high school.
  • If students wish to make contributions to The Water Drop or help in translating issues of The Water Drop they are encouraged to e-mail


For becoming part of the solution to make Safe Drinking Water a reality for Everyone!

Please visit us at for additional information about any of our programs.