Saskatchewan River Delta

Culture Camp at Pemmican Portage, Cumberland House, SK - Photo credit: Evan Andrews

PartnerCharlebois Community School 
StudentEvan Andrews, MES Candidate  
Research Assistant: Jacquelyne Nokusis
Academic advisorToddi Steelman 

1) Knowledge mobilization for youth 

An important component of this project will focus on knowledge mobilization for youth. In the fall of 2014, students at the Charlebois Community School began working with researchers from the University of Saskatchewan on a project that explores their understanding of water. Using photography, students explored what water means to them, threats to water, and potential solutions to these threats. This project provided students with an opportunity to be social scientists and present their work at the University of Saskatchewan during Delta Day 2015. An article about their photographs was written in The StarPhoenix - click here to read it.

After the photovoice project, we worked with ten grade eight students from Charlebois to capture the community's celebration of 125 years of education, called "Coming Home". Students were taught to use photography, video, and interviewing techniques to document the week-long celebration. The work that they did will be used to create a video, as well as support the development of locally developed curriculum at Charlebois. We also wanted to get student perspectives on issues related to the delta, such as what the delta means to them, how to tell if the delta is healthy, how they learn about the delta, and what their priorities are for taking care of the delta. We used videos and interviews from the Coming Home celebration to get at some of these perspectives. The results from this activity are summarized in a report for Charlebois Community School, found here

For further updates on this project, read our trip reports to Cumberland House in the "What's New" section

2) Sharing different perspectives on water quantity 

Hydroelectric power is a dominant source of electricity in Canada. In the Saskatchewan River Delta, communities have experienced a number of water flow and land use changes as a result of the construction of the E.B Campbell Dam (Waldram, 1989). There is a need to better understand the impacts of managed water flow from dams on downstream Canadian communities and how that relates to natural changes to water quantity, especially in multicultural communities that include a variety of rural, urban, First Nation and Metis members. Engaging communities is an important part of making decisions related to dams (World Commission on Dams, 2000). However, little research has been done on public participation in making decisions about flow regulation after a dam is constructed.
This research explored how stakeholders and rights holders downstream from dams in the Saskatchewan River understand different levels of water flow, and how they see themselves being a part of decision-making. The objectives of this research were to:
  • Describe how water flow is currently being managed from the perspectives of different stakeholders and rights holders;
  • Examine how the current flow management practices impact downstream communities;
  • Pull together different perspectives on what water levels into a solution that satisfies people's valid interests; and
  • Identify opportunities and barriers for putting into practice a common solution.

This project provided a forum for communities to describe their perspectives and experiences with downstream impacts of water flow regulation. Research has been completed, and involved stakeholders and rights holders from the Northern Village of Cumberland House, Cumberland House Cree Nation, Sask Environment, the Saskatchewan Water Security Agency, and SaskPower.

Click here to read Evan's thesis

Presentations and publications

For more information, contact:

  • Evan Andrews, MES Candidate - eja587[at]