March 10, 2020

$22.8 Million for Projects in Schools and Childcare Facilities

The Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act of 2016 authorized federal funds for lead in drinking water programs. All 50 states submitted Letters of Intent to apply for appropriated WIIN Act financial assistance for programs to detect lead in school and childcare drinking water through sampling and testing of facility tap water.

Recently, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has opened a new WIIN Act grant program, “Reduction in Lead Exposure Via Drinking Water.” Congress has authorized $39.9 million in funds to reduce lead through either infrastructure and utility water treatment improvements, or through school and childcare facility remediation. The portion for “Reduction of Children’s Exposure to Lead in Drinking Water in Schools and Child Care Facilities” provides $22.8 million in awards for projects to remove and/or replace lead-containing plumbing parts in school or childcare buildings.

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February 26, 2020

Water is a basic human need—something kids cannot live without. Because children spend so much time at school, having fresh, clean water available to them is critical for them to live healthier lives. 

All kids in every school in the United States should have access to water at no cost while they’re on campus. When kids don’t have enough water to drink, their health and cognitive performance, particularly their short-term memory, may suffer. And, when water is not available, children tend to consume more sugary drinks, which are linked to chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

You can learn more about the importance of drinking water in Voices for Healthy Kids Water Access in Schools Fast Facts

Inside this document, you’ll find facts from up-to-date studies and “fast facts” written in consumer-friendly language. Voices for Healthy Kids, an initiative of the American Heart Association with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), has a science...

February 21, 2020

A new fact sheet aims to demystify tap water contamination and provide clear information on tap water safety for childcare providers and for parents of young children.

There are over 20 million children aged 5 and under in the United States and over half of them attend center-based childcare (as opposed to care by friends and family).  Facilities participating in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) are required to make potable (safe) water available and offered throughout the day. States may have their own more stringent licensing requirements for drinking water provision in childcare and other states may require all licensed childcare facilities to comply with CACFP standards. But all families with young children should have safe drinking water.

Lead is a particular concern in the early years because young children are most vulnerable to its toxic effects. Infants fed formula that is reconstituted with tap water are at highest risk, if the tap water has unsafe le...

February 4, 2020

First established in 1991, the Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) was developed to control the contaminants in drinking water by requiring water utilities to test tap water for lead and use corrosion control to prevent leaching of lead into water. However, it had substantial shortcomings, and the agency began the lengthy process to propose long-term revisions to overhaul the rule in 2010.

Last October, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its proposed revisions to the LCR and is accepting public comment until February 12, 2020.

Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) has launched a series of blogs assessing the revisions and recommending improvements:

Overview: "Despite its flaws, states and communities should get ahead of the curve on EPA’s proposed lead in drinking water rule" (Dec. 10). Provides an overview of key strengths and weaknesses in the proposal and highlights opportunities for proactive action by states and communities.

Lead Service Lines: "EDF asks EPA to strengthen k...

January 31, 2020

New study suggests installing drinking water stations at community sites may increase water consumption by rural California communities with unsafe drinking water

Approximately 300 California communities have public water systems (utilities) that provide tap water that does not meet safety standards. In these communities, residents must purchase bottled water in order to have safe drinking water.


Agua4All, a cross-sector partnership with funding from The California Endowment, tested the installation of water bottle filling stations dispensing safe water as a means to help communities access quality tap water. Tap water, even when filtration is used, is less costly than bottled water.


In one of the first studies to look at how promoting and increasing access to safe drinking water in communities with non-potable drinking water impacts community-level water consumption, community sites in Kern County, California received new, public drinking water bottle filling stations.

The...

December 4, 2019

Drinking water should be featured on MyPlate and be strongly advised in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans provide the basis for federal food, nutrition and health policies and programs – including all federal food programs, institutional procurement policies, nutrition education programs – as well as nutritional advice given by health care providers.  The Guidelines are updated every five years. New Guidelines are due to be released in 2020.

In 2015, the Advisory Committee for the that year’s guidelines made strong recommendations supporting drinking water promotion in the 2015 Guidelines:

  • “Strategies are needed to encourage the U.S. population to drink water when they are thirsty. Water provides a healthy, low-cost, zero-calorie beverage option,” (1)

  • “Approaches might include: Making water a preferred beverage choice. Encourage water as a preferred beverage when thirsty.” (2)

  • “Free, clean water should be available in public...

November 26, 2019

The Bigger Pictureworks with youth to highlight how Type 2 Diabetes impacts communities, using poetry and music as tools to inspire young people to take action. Through learning, conversation, engagement and advocacy, young people fight Type 2 Diabetes in their communities

A recent campaign, created with support from Metta Fund and Mount Zion Health Fund, provides a workshop to youth poets in the Bay Area. The workshop helps them address how inequitable access to fresh water, combined with sugary drink consumption, influences Type 2 diabetes rates among youth.


Ten beautifully powerful poems were created, and one was transformed into The Bigger Picture’s most recent film, “Bottled Up,” which you can watch above.

Film and Photos by Jamie deWolf