YORKSHIRE Water has challenged education authorities to learn from its Cool Schools initiative in the fight against obesity in children.
The company launched the scheme in 2002 and since then has supplied more than 500 mains-fed water coolers to 250 primary schools across the region.
Youngsters have also been handed water bottles to take with them into lessons or the playground.
Proper hydration has been linked with improved performance both in the classroom and the sports field.
Experts have also confirmed water - which is calorie-free - could also be a potent weapon in the battle against obesity in children if schools were to help promote it properly.
Dr Martin Schweiger, consultant in communicable disease control with the Health Protection Agency, said: "We should all remember what a blessing water can be - and Yorkshire Water's Cool Schools scheme is helping to get that message across to young people.
"The fewer who regularly choose fizzy drinks the better."
In many schools not yet signed up to the Cool Schools campaign, the only access children have to a supply of water can be the taps in changing rooms and toilets.
Without a recommended intake of eight glasses a day, youngsters can suffer from symptoms of mild dehydration, including headaches, a lack of concentration or irritability.
Long-term effects can even lead to kidney problems.
The Cool Schools campaign objective is to have water coolers in all primary schools across the Yorkshire and Humber region by 2007.
Yorkshire Water's Cool Schools campaign manager Jackie Abusin said: "This isn't a quick fix or a short-term stunt.
"Yorkshire Water believes in the benefits children derive from drinking water regularly and is committed to getting that message across.
"We would urge education authorities or schools who have not heard of the project before to contact us so we can include as many as possible in the scheme."