LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Gov. Asa Hutchinson has signed into law a new bill that requires new schools to have water bottle filling stations and for new filling stations to be installed in ongoing school additions and future renovations for existing schools.

The efforts for the new law were led in part by the American Heart Association (AHA) in providing clean drinking water for students who are in school.

The legislation was also supported by Healthy Active Arkansas, The Arkansas Coalition for Obesity Prevention and Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families.

“We know drinking enough water can improve a child’s performance in school, making it easier for them to learn,” said Dave Oberembt, government relations for the AHA in Arkansas. “Substituting water for sugary drinks can also help keep our kids at a healthy weight.”

Water bottle filling stations are preferred over water fountains as they are often considered to be the “germiest” place in any school, Oberembt added. The filling stations allow students to enjoy water throughout the day as opposed to a quick drink in a long line of students.

“This bill is about taking care of our students and giving them the best chance at success,” said state Sen. Jane English of North Little Rock. “The passage of this legislation shows our support for students by recognizing the importance of adequate water intake and the positive impact it has on children’s cognitive performance, visual attention and fine motor skills.”