This authors of this study examined community-level characteristics associated with free drinking water access policies in U.S. municipalities using data from a nationally representative survey of city managers/officials from 2,029 local governments in 2014. Outcomes were 4 free drinking water access policies. Explanatory measures were population size, rural/urban status, census region, poverty prevalence, education, and racial/ethnic composition. We used multivariable logistic regression to test differences and presented only significant findings.
Results: Many (56.3%) local governments had at least one community plan with a written objective to provide free drinking water in outdoor areas; municipalities in the Northeast and South regions and municipalities with ≤ 50% of non-Hispanic whites were less likely and municipalities with larger population size were more likely to have a plan. About 59% had polices/budget provisions for free drinking water in parks/outdoor recreation areas; municipalities in the Northeast and South regions were less likely and municipalities with larger population size were more likely to have it. Only 9.3% provided development incentives for placing drinking fountains in outdoor, publicly accessible areas; municipalities with larger population size were more likely to have it. Only 7.7% had a municipal plumbing code with a drinking fountain standard that differed from the statewide plumbing code; municipalities with a lower proportion of non-Hispanic whites were more likely to have it.
Conclusion: Over half of municipalities had written plans or a provision for providing free drinking water in parks, but providing development incentives or having a local plumbing code provision were rare.
Keywords: Drinking water, Policy, Municipalities, Provision, Plumbing code
Park S, Onufrak S, Wilking C, Cradock A. Community-Based Policies and Support for Free Drinking Water Access in Outdoor Areas and Building Standards in U.S. Municipalities. Clin Nutr Res. 2018 Apr;7(2):91-101. doi: 10.7762/cnr.2018.7.2.91. Epub 2018 Apr 17.