Excellent access to drinking water in schools encourages the consumption of drinking water over sugar-sweetened beverages, which offers a host of benefits, including physical health and mental function. California enacted legislation in 2010 which required the provision of free drinking water in food service areas during meal times in public schools. A new policy brief from California Food Policy Advocates summarizes how drinking water access in California public schools has changed since 2010 and proposes additional policy recommendations to make drinking water accessible and safe in our schools.
There have been marked improvements in drinking water access in California public schools, including:
Increases in the number of water sources per number of students
Improvements in schools providing access to water in key locations, including outdoor physical activity areas, food services areas and temporary structures
Increased share of schools providing non-fountain drinking water sources, which are better at encouraging water consumption than traditional drinking fountains
Greater number of schools providing drinking water vessels
However, there remains opportunity for continued improvement. CFPA’s policy recommendations, based on the study findings and input from key stakeholders, include:
Ensure that all drinking water in California public schools is safe
Improve water source maintenance and water source type
Extend SB 1413 to require drinking water access at no charge in other key school locations
Click to read California Food Policy Advocates’ full policy brief, What's Next For Drinking Water Access in California Public Schools?