Constanza Mora, USask Master’s student in Environment and Sustainability, working with Safe Drinking Water Foundation (SDWF)

Educating students about water issues

People may think that unsafe drinking water is a problem only in developing countries and not in developed countries such as Canada.

The Challenge

People may think that unsafe drinking water is a problem only in developing countries and not in developed countries such as Canada.

However, as the Safe Drinking Water Foundation (SDWF) points out, “one need only venture outside the limits of major urban centres to find water treatment practices and source waters that have more in common with developing countries than with developed countries.”

Education is key to solving this problem and ensuring that safe drinking water is available to every Canadian. The SDWF aims to educate the general public, including students, about drinking water quality issues and solutions. The foundation has seven educational programs used by schools across Canada.

My job was to update SDWF documents on teaching outcomes so that they are aligned with current school curricula in each province, across all grade levels and subject areas.

The Study Method

I worked on two activities. I started by updating the spreadsheet that contains the dates of the curricula outcomes for each province. I did this for the K-12 curricula for all subjects in each Canadian province. I then updated the curriculum links for every province for six of SDWF programs. If any teachers are interested in a SDWF class, they can check this document to see how the program will support their lessons.  

This project was attractive to me because it is related to sustainability, youth, natural resources, and environmental justice—topics crucial to my thesis project based in Mexico and master’s program at the USask School of Environment and Sustainability.

In the past, I have worked in K-12 programs as an instructor, and I have also designed curricula. My biggest challenge with this project was to learn the Canadian education system since most of my previous work was done in the U.S. or for American programs.

The Benefits/Impact

This work affirmed for me the importance of non-profits. My work will help to provide the latest SDWF information to the public and to schools, other institutions, parents, and students.

Working for SDWF was an exciting experience because it taught me that my professional career skills could apply in different areas and that I can be flexible with various tasks and topics. This opportunity allowed me to see other options for jobs. I also learned the importance of time management because I had big tasks to handle in such a short period of time. Adaptability to changing circumstances was another critical aspect to learn in the time of coronavirus.

In my studies at USask, I think this experience helped me to look at different aspects of the water security issues and find ways to connect ideas between use of natural resources and social issues. At the same time, I was able to appreciate the importance of education as a tool to make people aware of environmental issues.


Disclaimer: Any omissions in fact or interpretation remain the sole responsibility of University of Saskatchewan. The findings do not necessarily reflect the views of Research Impact Canada, its funder The Conference Board of Canada, or its partner the Future Skills Centre.

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