Schools across California, the country, and in other countries are experimenting with innovative methods of encouraging water consumption in schools.  The reports below highlight research, policy, and interventions being used to promote water accessibility and consumption.


Policy Brief: What’s Next For Drinking Water Access in California Schools?, Stanford University, July 2018

This policy brief presents findings from an evaluation of drinking water access in schools before and after implementation of SB 1413/HHFKA, and proposes three policy recommendations to continue building on California’s historical leadership and make drinking water accessible and safe in our schools. Click here for the 2-page version of the brief.


Policy Brief: Fulfilling the Promise of Free Water in K-12 Schools, University of California San Francisco, July 2012

This policy brief presents principal study findings and key policy recommendations from a study that examined drinking water access, water-related policies, and practices, as well as barriers to improving water access and intake in California public schools. While all study schools reported offering free drinking water in at least one location on campus, one in four schools reported no such access where meals are served despite the state and federal requirements. Click here for the 2-page version of the brief.

Consumption of Sports Drinks by Children and Adolescents, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, June 2012

This 2012 research review and issue brief examines consumption of sports drinks by children and adolescents. The #1 recommendation: Fresh, safe, and free drinking water should be available at all times for children and adolescents, especially in schools and on athletic fields, recreational facilities, out-of-school time programs, and parks. Read the related issue brief.


Bringing Free Drinking Water Back to California Schools, Public Health Law and Policy, December 2011

This document provides an overview of drinking water access in California schools that can help schools comply with new requirements and support student health. This report also highlights strategies to make drinking water more readily available in school settings, including ways for parents and community members to get involved.

Observations of Drinking Water Access in School Food Service Areas Before Implementation of Federal and State School Water Policy, California, 2011

Recent legislation requires schools to provide free drinking water in food service areas (FSAs). This study describe access to water at baseline and student water intake in school FSAs and to examine barriers to and strategies for implementation of drinking water requirements.

Increasing the Availability and Consumption of Drinking Water in Middle Schools: A Pilot Study

This report assesses the acceptability, feasibility, and outcomes of a school-based intervention to improve drinking water consumption among adolescents.

Encouraging Consumption of Water in School and Child Care Settings: Access, Challenges, and Strategies for Improvement

This study identifies challenges that limit access to drinking water; opportunities, including promising practices, to increase drinking water availability and consumption; and future research, policy efforts, and funding needed in this area


Teaching the Tap: Why America’s Schools Need Funding for Water, Food and Water Watch, October 2010

This report describes the importance of providing tap water in schools, the challenges of doing so, and the need to establish a dedicated source of federal funding that would help schools fund their efforts to promote water consumption on campus.

Perceptions About Availability and Adequacy of Drinking Water in a Large California School District

PREVENTING CHRONIC DISEASEPublic Health Research, Practice and Policy – Vol No. 2, March 2010, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

This article explores perceptions about drinking water provision in a large California school district.  The study found that while stakeholders believed water was available, concerns existed around appeal, taste, appearance, and safety of the water dispensed by fountains.  Stakeholders also cited barriers, some real and some mistaken, to promoting drinking water consumption.  The study finds that collaborative efforts among schools, communities, and policymakers are needed to improve drinking water consumption in schools by students.


CFPA Report, October 2009 – Improving Water Consumption in Schools: Challenges, Promising Practices, and Next Steps

California has taken some good steps forward in getting rid of sugary drinks in schools.  But, we haven’t done as good a job of promoting healthy choices, namely water.  Water is an essential nutrient and is (obviously) calorie-free.  Best of all, tap water is free!  Unfortunately, a recent survey found that 40% of responding schools reported having no access to free water in cafeterias.

Promotion and Provision of Drinking Water in Schools for Overweight Prevention: Randomized, Controlled Cluster Trial

PEDIATRICS – Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Volume 123, Number 4, April 2009.

This study tested whether an intervention to increase access to water and provide more education about water consumption was effective in preventing overweight in elementary school children.  Low-income students in one school received an intervention of greater access to water and classroom lessons on promoting water consumption while similar students in another school did not receive any intervention. The study found that the risk of overweight reduced in the intervention school by 31 percent.  The authors concluded that improving access to water and promoting education on the importance of water consumption was an effective obesity prevention strategy.