Part of empowering citizens is participating in research (both formal and informal) that improves user experience, validates testing methods, and more. We are so grateful to work with many incredible partners, who help us make sure that what we’re doing is rigorous and can be trusted.

Our current research projects

Water quality in Canada: validation, interpretation, and mobilization of community-based water monitoring (2021 – 2025)

Project partners: University of Regina, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Saskatchewan Water Authority

Core funding by: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the University of Regina Science Department.

While accurate and relevant data are the cornerstone for evidence-based decision-making in freshwater management, ensuring the accuracy and relevance of these data remains a challenge in Canada’s fragmented monitoring networks. Making sound management decisions requires effective communication and collaboration among a wide range of stakeholders, including those from academia, governmental and non-governmental organizations, and local community groups, yet there is often little coordination and communication among them. The Alliance we propose to build will serve to connect these diverse water stewards presently operating in this country. Our research will provide communities with a simple way to crowdsource water quality data that will transform citizens’ understandings of their water, as well as their ability to participate in water stewardship. The partnership between Dr. Kerri Finlay (U Regina), Water Rangers, and Environment and Climate Change Canada will aim to address challenges associated with sustainable and meaningful Community-based Water Monitoring (CBWM) by improving its legitimacy and validity for academics and government officials. We aim to establish the basis for long-term sustainability in water testing programs across Canada, using Saskatchewan, a province with frequent recreational water quality concerns, as our case study. We will focus on: (1) validating, improving, and legitimizing inexpensive tools that can provide results in real-time; (2) building artificial intelligence tools that use accessible, affordable tests to help answer important questions about water quality; and (3) enabling community-led data management that engages all stakeholders (Community, Non-Governmental, Government, and Academic).

View current information on our website and on Dr. Kerri Finlay’s website

View completed research projects

Laura Gilbert, one of the researchers studying values in relation to Water Rangers

Research highlights

We are currently conducting formal academic research with Carleton University and McGill University on happiness, nature connectedness, values and water stewardship.

Informally, we’ve been conducting research for the past few years! As we complete programs, such as this one funded by WWF-Canada and Loblaw, we usually ask our participants to fill out carefully designed questionnaires. This is so we can develop an understanding of how people’s relationships with water change as a result of testing it! So far, we’ve found that when people test the water, they end up feeling more connected to it and want to protect it as a result. This informs our “theory of change”, which says that when people learn about, and then test water, they are prompted to act to protect waterways.

Check out the impact reports which explain the results of some of our programs in greater detail! 

White papers we’ve contributed to

Literature featuring Water Rangers

Literature related to Community-Based Water Quality Monitoring

There are many published research papers that show the effectiveness of community water monitoring! Here’s a few examples:

Do you have a research idea you’d like to talk to us about? Contact us!

Special thanks to...

Our research would not have been possible without the support of...

Just normal people, those who have never earned a biology degree, can be curious about the world around them. Exploring the water where you live not only gets you outside and engages you in your community, but also inspires you to learn more. Citizen Science works for every age and stage! Interested in what is in your water? Is it optimum for life? Like playing with little test kits. Have a few waters you could test and compare? Maybe Water Rangers is for you. Get outside and learn!

Lee, tester from British Columbia