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  • National Drinking Water Alliance

AQWA: Assess the Quality of Water Access with a New Photo-Evidence Tool

Researchers at University of California and University of Washington knew that the mere presence of a water fountain does not necessarily mean that the fountain is an appealing, or even functional, way to get a drink of water. They also knew that smartphones with photo capability are common.

Therefore, with funding from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Healthy Eating Research, the team developed, validated and feasibility-tested a photo-evidence protocol for participatory science.

The tool, Assess the Quality of Water Access (AQWA), allows “citizen scientists” to perform systematic documentation of key features of water access.

With support from the WK Kellogg Foundation, the photo-evidence tool is now available online at no charge, along with a toolkit of supporting materials, which includes an instructional webinar and simple data interpretation tools. Click here to learn more and to access the entire toolkit.

The tool focuses on elements that support effective access to drinking water: the accessibility, functionality and appeal of a water source, and the presence of cups and water promotion material. Learn more about effective access to water in this infographic and this new checklist for schools.

Students in Los Angeles used AQWA to gather evidence about water access in Los Angeles Unified School District high schools. Read about their project in this success story from the project's funder, the American Heart Association's Voices for Healthy Kids.

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