Water Fountain Audit at Santa Monica High School
By Hannah Persinko, of Team Marine
As California faced a record breaking drought, water resources became a hot topic. Santa Monica High School’s Team Marine wanted to investigate the availability of fountain water for their students on campus.
Over the course of three years, we have done three water fountain audits in which we inspected every water fountain at our school, documenting if the fountains were either defective or fully functioning.
The defective fountains were classified as low flow, overflow, or low pressure. We found out that 76% of water fountains at our school were defective. This result was very unfortunate to uncover, but it is not too surprising, as school water fountains have a bad reputation for being profusely unsanitary.
The lack of access to clean water causes students to run to vending machines to satiate their thirst. Students feel that they have no choice but to spend their pocket money on a resource that should be free. The purchase of bottled water in turn places extra demands on already strained water resources—it takes a great deal of water and emission-producing energy to make plastic bottles and extract, bottle, transport and refrigerate bottled water.
We’re in the midst of issuing surveys to students asking their opinion on the school’s fountains, asking questions like “How often do you use SaMoHi’s water fountains?” and “What adjective would you use to describe the water fountains?” So far we have issued 453 surveys and the vast majority of those students describe the fountains as “nasty” or “disgusting.”
We are working on publishing the results of the survey in our school newspaper and issuing press releases to the media for our school to understand that access to free, clean water is imperative.