USDA Adds Water to the Lunch Line


Published on Aug 27, 2013 in Child Nutrition, School-Aged Children

8.27.2013 Starting today students can expect to see increased access to free potable water wherever school meals are served. Students are just not drinking enough water, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

To encourage students to develop healthy eating habits, the USDA included a provision in its recent Smart Snack in Schools Interim Final Rule to require schools to make “potable water available and accessible without restriction to children at no charge in the places where lunches are served.” Additionally, water should also be available and accessible when breakfast is served in the cafeteria. The water provision in the interim rule becomes effective today. 

While drinking fountains may be the most common source of free drinking water on school campuses, they are not always the trusted source by students. When asked why they weren’t drinking water from drinking fountains, many students cited that the drinking fountains weren’t clean or didn’t work. Some students also mentioned that the water comes out hot and tastes “funky.”

Schools throughout the state, however, have gotten creative and are providing fresh, free drinking water to students in more appealing and convenient ways. Check out the CNN video below where Dr. Gupta talks about water in schools and highlights one middle school’s efforts to increase water consumption among students.

Francesca Vietor, with the San Francisco Foundation, recently blogged on the Huffington Post about the importance of water on students’ health and academic performance. And makes a very important point, “Further implementation will reveal what works best in individual communities, but options already exist for every budget and school. When it comes to improving children’s health, water is one easy solution we can tap into now.”

Read Vietor’s blog post, To Grow Healthier Kids, Just Add Water. link

Visit to learn more on how to improve access to fresh, free drinking water in your school.

For more information, please contact Ariana Oliva at 213-482-8200 x203 or at .


Was this resource helpful?

Please consider supporting Nourish California's work.

Your 100% tax-deductible donation is an investment in our research and supports our mission to give California’s critically under-resourced communities the nutrition they desperately need.

Share This