Water & Health


Dr. Lalita Bharadwaj (Public Health) & Dr. Cheryl Waldner (WCVM)

The Safe Water for Health Research Team was formed in April 2008 by faculty from the Colleges of Nursing, Veterinary Medicine, Arts and Science, the Toxicology Centre, and partners from the Federation of SK Indian Nations (FSIN), Health Canada, Environment Canada, the Canadian Lutheran World Relief Organization, and partnering Universities in Peru. This research team has developed further partnerships with the Global Institute of Water Security, Saskatchewan Water Security Agency, Ministry of Health, International Centre for Northern Governance and Development, First Nations Inuit Health Branch and the Water Economics, Policy and Governance Network (WEPGN).

Theme Goal

The long-term goal of the Safe Water for Health Research Team (SWHRT) is to build community and scholarly capacity for water and health research in rural and remote communities in SK, in order to make evidence-based decisions about water policy that will promote the health of all SK residents.

Projects to date

  • We established a Community-Based Safe Drinking Water Research Program with SK First Nations.
  • We also worked with the MoH and the SK health regions to summarize and map the determinants of water quality in public water supplies too small to be regulated by the Ministry of Environment (MoE).
  • The group is currently funded by CIHR : Water Regulations: Impact on First Nations health equity and promotion.  The project utilizes  a community-based participatory research approach to identify barriers to, health impacts of, and the process and capacity needs for, First Nations drinking water regulation.

The Team holds a Phase 2 Health Research Group Grant from the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation: The goal is to investigate the geographic distribution of drinking water quality and the association with chronic disease. This project involves a PhD student (WCVM) who recently completed the CREATE iTrap program. The project also includes research aimed at understanding groundwater consumption in rural communities and the impact of risk perception on human health risk. Applications of Bayesian Methods and deterministic risk assessement are applied.  

The Ministry of Health (MOH) has partnered with this group to provide advice, guidance, educational materials and in-kind analysis of water quality of drinking water samples collected from semiprivate wells in two regions of the province.

  • Funded by Health Canada, the group is also working with the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN) analyzing data collected in First Nations communities in 2006 and 2010 and a third round of sampling has been initiated this year.
  • There are several other grad student projects underway with MSc (Geography and Planning and SENS), studying water quality through the trucked to cistern drinking water supply and PhD (SENS & CH&E) students, whose projects are providing key research evidence for policy decisions for recreational lake management in SK.