Promoting Drinking Water to Improve Bay Area Health

CTSI's Community Engagement and Health Policy Program (CE&HP) is pleased to share the final report from the Drinking Water Promotion Project (DWAPP).  This work builds on efforts to increase consumption of public water and reduce consumption of sugary drinks, by UCSF researchers and their partners. The SF City budget signed by Mayor Breed in August 2018 includes several million dollars in spending of soda tax dollars to promote public drinking water and install new hydration stations across the City, among other recommendations adopted by the Sugary Drinks Distributor Tax Advisory Committee (SDDTAC), with input from UCSF researchers.

The DWAPP project was led by the Bay Area Nutrition and Physical Activity Collaborative (BANPAC), with support from Kaiser Permanente.  It involved Anisha Patel, pediatrician at Stanford University with a joint appointment at UCSF.  It also involved our partners from Shape Up San Francisco -- including SFDPH epidemiologists and other staff, and CE&HP's Roberto Vargas. We contributed multi-language water promotion materials developed in partnership between Dr. Patel, our community-based organizational partners, and our SFDPH Prevention and Promotion staff partners, as part of our on-going Water Equity work.

Efforts to engage stakeholders for collective impact approaches to increased consumption of public drinking water stem from our on-going initiatives to reduce consumption of Sugary Drinks. Through community-engaged research led by UCSF's Laura Schmidt and in partnership with multiple stakeholders, we learned that low-income communities want better access to trusted drinking water sources and culturally relevant education materials. 

In San Francisco, our Water Equity work has included partnerships with the SF Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), policymakers, the SFDPH and community-based health promotion programs and UCSF scientists.  This work has yielded nearly $1 million in the last several years for installation of nearly a hundred new hydration stations in school and community settings, and more resources to support community-based water promotion in English, Chinese and Spanish.  Our partners at NICOS Chinese Health Coalition, the Central American Resource Center and the Department of Public Health have been instrumental in the design, translation and dissemination of these water promotion materials, with input from Dr. Patel and support from the SFPUC.

As the co-chair of the Sugary Drinks Distributor Tax Advisory Committee (SDDTAC), Roberto Vargas helped bring UCSF scientists to the table to help contribute to our recommendations to the City for how to invest the Sugary Drinks Distributor Tax revenue.  Drs. Schmidt, Jonathan Butler (SDDTAC member), Rob Lustig, Claire Brindis, Irene Hilton (SDDTAC member) and others contributed their perspectives.

When Mayor London Breed signed the City's budget this summer, it included $21 million over the next two years in Soda Tax investments, adopting nearly all of the SDDTAC recommendations. These recommendations include $450k for hydration station installation and several million dollars in education campaigns, including water promotion.