Safe Drinking Water Team

Safe Drinking Water Team (SDWT) is composed of First Nations water treatment plant operators, scientific advisors, and other professionals whose goal it is to help other First Nations water treatment plant operators with the water treatment challenges that they face.


Team Members

Dr. Lalita Bharadwaj

Co-Lead: U of S Safe Water for Health Research Team

The mission 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.

Lalita's specific area of interest is water storage in First Nations communities, especially cisterns.

Dr. Lalita Bharadwaj
Another Cistern

Nicole November 19 2018 Smaller.jpg

Nicole Hancock

Nicole Hancock is the Executive Director of Safe Drinking Water Foundation (SDWF). Nicole has a Bachelor of Education degree from University of Regina with a major in Mathematics Education and a minor in French Education. She also has a Postgraduate Diploma in Inclusive Education from Athabasca University.

Nicole also teaches at a school, tutors, and writes/reviews/edits online educational programs. Nicole wants everyone to be lifelong learners - whether they are currently in grade one or they have run a water treatment plant for thirty years.

Deon Hassler

Deon Hassler has worked for the File Hills Qu’Appelle Tribal Council for five years as Circuit Rider Trainer. He has worked in water treatment and wastewater treatment for over ten years. Deon is responsible for 11 First Nations bands in terms of technical services to mentor, train, and assist the water treatment operators in operating and maintaining their systems, and obtaining and maintaining certifications.

Deon Hassler

Bill Marion

Bill Marion

Bill Marion operates the IBROM plant at James Smith Cree Nation with his son Devon. Bill has worked closely on water issues with the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN) as well as with the Assembly of First Nations (AFN). With the AFN Bill was instrumental in helping develop the Circuit Rider Training Program. Bill has also helped both Indian Affairs and Health Canada develop better ways of supporting First Nations achieving better quality drinking water. For 25 years Bill has tirelessly tried to raise the bar for drinking water in First Nation communities both in Saskatchewan and nationwide. Bill is encouraging First Nation Leaderships to consider the IBROM technology because of the superior quality water produced.

Dr. Tim Molnar

Dr. Tim Molnar is an Assistant Professor in the College of Education at the University of Saskatchewan. Through science education Tim is seeking to support First Nations communities in making better choices for improving the quality of the drinking water in their communities. Safe drinking water at everybody's tap will improve health and well-being in their community. While most Canadians take good quality drinking water for granted, good quality drinking water is still an issue for many First Nations communities. Tim's work is centered on how to make the move towards safe drinking water both smoother and faster.

Dr. Tim Molnar

Robert Patrick

Dr. Robert (Bob) Patrick

Bob's passion is to teach other operators what they need to do to properly analyze and interpret water quality data. Every 5 years during his water plant's manganese greensand days they switched engineering companies just to later realize that it was impossible to treat his water with this method. The quality of the water was simply too poor. But, every engineering company had a "fix" for Bob. In reality, none did. Some simple math showed in the end that it could not be done. Bob has presented these issues at workshops across Canada.

Bob Patrick is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography and Planning at the University of Saskatchewan. Bob came to the University of Saskatchewan in 2008 after 12 years as a regional planner in British Columbia, Canada. His teaching includes regional and environmental planning. His research interests include watershed planning for source water protection, mainly with First Nation communities in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Robert (Bob) Pratt

Robert (Bob) Pratt has been a water operator at George Gordon First Nation since 1988. Bob's raw water is high in everything including 85 micrograms/L of arsenic and very high levels of iron, manganese, organics, sulphate, hardness, etc. Initially, Bob used straight manganese greensand filtration, which was followed by manganese greensand plus RO. The potassium permanganate demand (a key factor in manganese greensand treatment) was five times larger than what Bob added and the process simply didn't work. In 2005 the manganese greensand plus RO process was replaced by an IBROM process. Bob is now producing drinking water that meets all global regulations. At the same time operational costs of the IBROM process compared with the previous process has dropped by $100,000 per year. Bob was also a circuit rider trainer for the Touchwood Tribal Council and he has seen a lot of water treatment processes applied to poor raw water sources. They all have two things in common. One, they don't work. Two, the federal government claims they work. Scientists have backed up Bob's position. They don't work in theory and even less (if that is possible) in practice.

Robert Pratt

Rebecca Zagozewski

Rebecca Zagozewski currently serves as a Project Manager in the School of Public Health at the University of Saskatchewan. Her areas of expertise include social research with First Nations communities and drinking water, community development and sustainability, social learning, and housing cooperatives. She graduated with a Master's of Arts degree in Sociology from the University of Saskatchewan and has since worked for Dr. Lalita Bharadwaj. 

Rebecca works closely with numerous First Nations communities and organizations in Saskatchewan and has cultivated many productive research partnerships over the last five years. Collaborating with all members of the research team, Rebecca has ensured that the use of a community-based participatory research approach has resulted in positive experiences for the researchers and participants as they investigate the challenges and barriers to the access of safe drinking water in First Nations communities and how these challenges affect health in these communities. She further provides guidance and support to the research team in analyzing data, and interpreting and disseminating the results.

Rebecca Zagozewski