Water Access



The Water Access working group focuses on policies and economic issues regarding free and safe drinking water access.


The Water Access WG aims to increase access to and intake of free and safe drinking water in schools, child care, and other community locations through research and the development of evidence-based policies and practices.

Key Activities and Findings

The Water Access WG has built on existing research activities of working group members. It involves regular participation of core group members, who contribute to discussions and provide input and ideas for new projects and planning. The Water Access WG’s recent activities and corresponding findings are outlined below:

Assessing water access and beverage environments in a variety of settings

  • Developed standardized tools and protocols to evaluate water access and beverage vending environments
  • Evaluate and characterize the costs of water provision strategies and policies in school and community settings
  • Identify effective tools and strategies to assess the beverage environment in a variety of settings

Disseminate resources to promote increased access to and consumption of healthy beverages

  • Develop and share guides to support the implementation and evaluation of water access and promotion efforts in schools and other settings
  • Collaborated with the CDC to develop toolkits to support the implementation and evaluation of water access and promotion efforts in schools
  • Created a practical guide that addresses the necessary steps to improve school drinking water planning, maintenance, and repair to address practical side of drinking water in schools

Build partnerships to increase awareness about water access practices and policies

  • Collaborate with local and national partners to support efforts to increase water access
  • Communicate evidence-based practices and research findings to key stakeholders to promote access to free drinking water
  • Raise awareness of the health benefits of increasing water consumption


Download the Water Access Working Group Overview document for more information

Kenney EL, Gortmaker SL, Carter JE, Howe CW, Reiner JF, Cradock AL. Grab a Cup, Fill It Up! An Intervention to Promote the Convenience of Drinking Water and Increase Student Water Consumption During School Lunch. American Journal of Public Health. 2015. e-View Ahead of Print.

Kenney EL, Long MW, Cradock AL, Gortmaker SL. Prevalence of Inadequate Hydration Among US Children and Disparities by Gender and Race/Ethnicity: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2009-2012. American Journal of Public Health. 2015. e-View Ahead of Print.

Cradock AL, Wilking CL, Olliges SA, Gortmaker SL. Getting Back on Tap: The Policy Context and Cost of Ensuring Access to Low-Cost Drinking Water in Massachusetts Schools. Am J Prev Med 2012;43(3 Suppl 2): S95-101. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2012.05.016

Onufrak S, Park S, Wilking C. Student-reported school drinking fountain availability by youth characteristics and state plumbing codes. Prev Chronic Dis 2014; 11:130314. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5888/pcd11.130314

Harvard School of Public Health Prevention Research Center on Nutrition and Physical Activity. Keep It Flowing: A Practical Guide to School Drinking Water Planning, Maintenance & Repair. Boston, MA, September, 2014.

View the recording of the May 2016 CDC-hosted webinar: “Increasing Access to Drinking Water in Schools: Strategies for Success” and access the PPT slides.


Angie Cradock, ScD
Harvard Prevention Research Center
Email: acradock@hsph.harvard.edu
Phone: 617-384-8933

Sohyun Park, PhD, MS
Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Email: spark3@cdc.gov