Merced County Schools Hope New Water Foundations Improve Access To Safe Drinking Water

BY: Nathalie Granda | ABC30
Getting your daily dose of water just got a lot easier for students in Le Grand and Planada Schools.
“They’re done, they’re all installed and they’re ready to go,” said Stanley Keasling, Rural Community Assistance Corp.
Students cheered as 24 new water bottle filling stations were installed Thursday at the elementary, middle, and high school in the district.
Each student even got their reusable water bottle teaching them to not only stay hydrated, but also learn about sustainability.
“That’s another important aspect of the program, is keeping single use water bottles out of the landfill,” said Keasling.
They were installed through the Agua4All campaign to promote safe water in California’s rural communities. The program was launched by the California Endowment in 2014 in partnership with the Rural Community Assistance Corporation or RCAC.
Dignity Health helped donate $50,000 to bring the fountains to the county and say they are hoping this also helps with the high numbers of childhood obesity and diabetes they see in the area.
“Drinking water is a critical piece to that and availability of fresh clean water is the first start,” said Robert McLaughlin, Dignity Health.
RCAC said there was nothing wrong with the water quality in Le Grand and Planada, but the previous water fountains were old and kids didn’t want to drink out of them.
Merced County Supervisor Rodrigo Espinoza said with the stigma related to tap water, bringing clean water to students is more important than ever.
“With the Flint, Michigan issues of the lead pipes, and now with the drought affecting our kids, it’s important that they have that quality water.”
The RCAC said they hope more schools will apply– so far they have already installed 200 filling stations throughout the state.
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