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Access to Free Drinking Water-UPDATE


Nutrition Services Division Management Bulletin

Purpose: Policy, Beneficial Information

To: Child Nutrition Sponsors

Number: USDA-SNP-27-2012

Attention: Food Service Program Directors, Superintendents, Business Officials, Principals

Date: July 2012

Subject: Access to Free Drinking Water—UPDATE

Reference: 2010 Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization, Section 203; USDA Policy Memo SP 28-2011—Revised (Supplying Free Water to Students during the Meal Period); Information Alert USDA-SNP-08-2011
Supersedes: Information Alert USDA-SNP-08-2011 dated June 2011

This Management Bulletin (MB) updates Information Alert USDA-SNP-08-2011, dated June 2011, by providing School Nutrition Program sponsors with additional information about student access to free water in schools as required by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA) of 2010. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) requires districts to implement this rule no later than the start of the 2011–12 school year. The goal of this requirement is to provide free water to all students in school, not just the students participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). Therefore, the Nutrition Services Division (NSD) strongly recommends schools and districts include the district’s facilities and maintenance operations, as well as district administration, in the implementation and financial planning of this mandate.

The USDA revised Policy Memo SP 28-2011 (Memo) provides additional guidance regarding the implementation of section 203 of the HHFKA of 2010. It also includes a Question and Answer document regarding access to free water in schools. It contains questions regarding location requirements, reasonable costs and allowable expenditures, alternate serving areas, program questions, food safety issues, and other general information. The Memo is available on the USDA Water Availability During NSLP Meal Service web page at https://www.fns.usda.gov/water-availability-during-nslp-meal-service.

The USDA will release proposed regulations in summer 2012 that will include more formal details regarding implementation requirements. Final regulations will be released by summer 2013. The NSD will update this MB once the USDA releases its proposed regulations on water access in schools. The NSD will continue to post updated MBs to the California Department of Education (CDE) Web site.

For more information for encouraging water consumption, please contact Mike Danzik, Nutrition Education Specialist, by phone at 916-445-7346 or by e-mail at mdanzik@cde.ca.gov. For general advice on the planning of new construction or modernization projects, contact the CDE’s School Facilities Planning Division Field Representative assigned to your county at the following CDE School Facilities Staff Web page at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/fa/sf/fieldstaff.asp or by phone at 916-322-2470.

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Wednesday, February 23, 2022
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