RCE Saskatchewan - 2023

Water Quality Monitoring System
Basic Information
Title of project : 
Water Quality Monitoring System
Submitting RCE: 
RCE Saskatchewan
Contributing organization(s) : 
First Nations University of Canada, University of Regina, TRUMF, University of Winnipeg, Saskatchewan First Nations Water Associations, Buffalo Pound Water.
Focal point(s) and affiliation(s)
Dr. Arzu Sardarli
Organizational Affiliation: 
Professor of Physics and Mathematics, First Nations University of Canada
Language of project: 
Date of submission:
Saskatchewan’s Drinking Water Quality Standards and Objectives (Water Security Agency of Saskatchewan)
At what level is the policy operating?: 
Geographical & Education Information
Cowessess First Nation and Weburn, Saskatchewan
Address of focal point institution for project: 
Dr. Arzu Sardarli
First Nations University of Canada, Northern Campus
1301 Central Avenue
Prince Albert, SK
Canada S6V 4W1
Target Audience:
Socioeconomic and environmental characteristics of the area : 
The geographic area under consideration is in the mixed moist grassland region of the Saskatchewan prairies in Western Canada. Water quality is an increasing issue on the prairies and quality of drinking water on Indigenous reserves is a longstanding challenge due to inadequate funding by the Canadian federal government.

Cowessess First Nation is a Saulteaux First Nations band government in southern Saskatchewan, Canada. The band's main reserve is Cowessess 73, one of several adjoining Indigenous communities in the Qu'Appelle Valley. The band also administers Cowessess 73A, near Esterhazy, and Treaty Four Reserve Grounds 77, which is shared with 32 other bands.

The City of Weyburn Water Treatment Facility is a large municipal residential Class 4 chemically assisted filtration plant. The plant is capable of producing approximately 10,000 m3 of clean water for the city every day. In addition to online monitored parameters of the raw and treated water, such as pH, turbidity, and conductivity, the plant performs tests four times a week for more detailed fingerprints of the treated water. Samples are also sent to a third-party laboratory for verification. The plant draws raw water from Nickle Lake and sends the water to a series of treatment processes before pumping it to the city’s distribution system. In summer time every year, the plant has to deal with elevated concentrations of total organic content (16 – 20 mg/L) in the source water, which is largely attributed to algae blooms. In addition, the plant has been striving to reduce the generation of disinfection by-products (DBPs) in its treatment.
Description of sustainable development challenge(s) in the area the project addresses: 
The Cowessess First Nation is a well-equipped community with a local water treatment facility. After the success of this pilot project, the water monitoring system is expected to be deployed at other First Nations communities where the water quality problem exists.
All these challenges that Weyburn Water Treatment Facility faces, warrant more cost-effective and robust water quality monitoring technologies for effective responses or resolutions. The revolutionary water quality monitoring technology proposed in this project is highly desired by the partner. The plant will be a valued in-kind contributor by providing support to the research team to deploy prototype sensors at its plant for water quality monitoring along the treatment train for a period of time (e.g., one month). Necessary experimental space, power supply, and staff hours (e.g., for safety training and device installation) will be contributed. In addition, the partner will share their own water quality monitoring data for the research team to calibrate and improve the technology. The resultant technology will be highly applicable at the partner’s plant, which will enable the partner to operate its facility in a more robust fashion.
The project requires education of specific individuals and partner organizations in order to implement and maintain the proposed water technology. Monitoring water quality is an important first step to improving water quality over the long term.
The objective of this research is to develop an optical water quality monitoring system based on the development of particle and astro-particle physics water Cherenkov detectors, Super-Kamiokande (SuperK) and the Hyper-Kamiokande (HyperK), and apply it to drinking water quality monitoring.
The water monitoring systems will be deployed in and Cowessess First Nation Weyburn Water Treatment Facility.
Activities and/or practices employed: 
The research team has been established. The contacts with communities have been established. The communities expressed their willingness in collaboration. Presently the team is working on a research proposal for funding the project.
Size of academic audience: 
The project is currently at an early implementation stage so the audience for the main project has not yet been reached.
To date, the project's primary efforts have been focused on developing the mutual understanding between the partners about the water issues and the benefits of the technology in order to advance the project. Taking the time at the front end to develop this collaborative basis is important.
Lessons learned: 
Take the time to build the social connectivity and mutual understanding between the partners in order to advance a collaborative project.
Key messages: 
An optical water quality monitoring system can be successfully applied to drinking water quality monitoring in small communities to empower those communities in their long term water goals and planning.
Relationship to other RCE activities: 
First Nations University of Canada is a founding partner of RCE Saskatchewan and is regularly represented on the RCE's Facilitation Group, providing direction to the RCE's overall activities.
Presently the team is working on a research proposal for funding the project.
UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
(https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs) and other themes of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)
SDG 2 - End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture 
SDG 4 - Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all 
SDG 6 - Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all 
SDG 9 - Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation, and foster innovation 
SDG 11 - Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable 
SDG 12 - Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns 
SDG 17 - Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development 
Traditional Knowledge  
Curriculum Development 
ESD for 2030-Priority Action Areas
Priority Action Area 5 - Accelerating sustainable solutions at local level 
I acknowledge the above: