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KHF initiative awards funding for water projects

December 2, 2015

Media Contact Chase Willhite, 316-491-8455

WICHITA, KAN. – Drinking water is critical to prevent chronic disease, preserve and improve oral health, and for cognitive development in growing children. Yet, many communities struggle to provide their residents with clean, safe drinking water. And, it may not be easily accessible to Kansans where they live, work and play.

Through the Improving Public Health Through Access to and Consumption of Water initiative, the Kansas Health Foundation is funding five organizations across the state, selected during a competitive grant application process, to improve health outcomes by improving Kansans’ access to water. In total, more than $900,000 will be provided to these organizations.

“Water is essential to life and a healthy, prosperous Kansas,” said Jeff Willett, Kansas Health Foundation Vice President for Programs and Policy. “These grants will help organizations improve public health by making clean drinking water readily available to more Kansans.”

Water plays an important role in Kansas – whether it’s public health, public water infrastructure, agriculture, economic development, health disparities, or water quality. About 10 percent of the state’s water goes to municipal use. All Kansas public water systems, regardless of where they are or how many customers they serve, are required by law to provide safe and clean drinking water; however, it’s a growing challenge, especially in smaller communities.

  • Kansas Health Institute ($100,145) will develop a health impact assessment (HIA) that will inform a decision about the potential utilization of lower-quality water for various uses.
  • KU School of Medicine-Wichita ($200,000) will conduct an in-depth collection and analysis of existing policies impacting the water quality of private water wells in municipalities throughout Kansas, identify promising practices for protecting and improving the water quality of existing private wells, and provide recommendations for policy interventions to improve and protect the water quality of private wells at the municipal and state level.
  • Northwest Kansas Council on Substance Abuse, Inc. ($200,000) will implement strategies for policy, system, and environmental improvements that support access to and consumption of clean drinking water. Programs would be implemented with partners in early childhood programs, Colby Community College, and public and private sector worksites.
  • Oral Health Kansas ($199,983) will develop and implement a comprehensive plan to improve school policies that will increase access to and student demand for drinking water throughout the school day.
  • Sunflower Community Action, Inc. ($199,951) will focus on research and building a pro-water coalition. The organization will gather data by canvassing low-income neighborhoods in Wichita, as well as Arkansas City and Dodge City, in order to understand attitudes related to water and to identify barriers to drinking tap water.

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About the Kansas Health Foundation

The Kansas Health Foundation is based in Wichita, but statewide in its focus. With a mission to improve the health of all Kansans, KHF envisions a culture in which every Kansan can make healthy choices where they live, work and play. During the past 35 years, KHF has provided more than $600 million in grants to improve health in Kansas communities.

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