"Although historically some states did specify that a certain number of [drinking fountains] be available for a certain number of students, there was generally no guidance regarding the location of those fountains," the researchers wrote in the American Journal of Public Health.
In 2011, they surveyed 240 administrators in California schools; they set up five standards to be met for a school to be considered providing "excellent" water service. No schools meet all these: water in four of five key spots (cafeteria, gym, etc.); one or more fountains for every 25 students; water available other than fountains to encourage drinking, such as pitchers; safe and appealing tap water; and fountains that are clean and in working order.
But all the schools offered water in at least one location. Thirty-seven percent offered it in four of the five locations. And although one in four did not meet the requirements, the researchers noted that their study was conducted not long after the California law took effect.