El Camino Real school assembly photo


Access to safe drinking water in schools and communities

In many rural California communities, inadequate infrastructure and contaminated water are commonplace. Access to safe drinking water is a basic human right and a foundation for healthy communities and schools, but this is not a reality for more than one million Californians. Contaminants such as arsenic can cause cancer, thyroid problems and other serious health issues.

But even in communities where the water meets federal and state requirements, adults and children alike often do not use the drinking fountains in schools, parks and other public places because they are either broken or dirty and unappealing. When reluctant to drink the public water supply, many low-income families spend more than 10 percent of their earnings to buy bottled water. Many also choose to consume sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) instead of water.

Wally the waterdrop-Agua4All mascot.
Wally the Water Droplet, the Agua4All mascot, holding a drawing created by a young member of the Santa Rosa Band of Cahuilla Indians who attended an Agua4All educational assembly.

The California Endowment launched Agua4All in 2014, a pilot project in partnership with nonprofit organizations Rural Community Assistance Corporation, Community Water Center and Pueblo Unido CDC.

Agua4All raises awareness about California’s drinking water crisis; builds community partnerships to install water bottle filling stations in schools and rural and indigenous communities where they’re needed most; identifies funding sources; and develops long-term solutions for California’s water quality and access problems.

Since the program’s launch, RCAC’s team has installed 913 water bottle filling stations and distributed 17,348 reusable water bottles in California statewide.

For more information on how you can get a water bottle filling station in your school or community, email agua4all@rcac.org  or complete and submit the drinking water inquiry form below.


Drinking Water Inquiry