Schools across Maharashtra will be ringing bells at least thrice during the school hours to encourage students to drink water, a state minister has said. Maharashtra School Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad on Saturday said the “water bell” will be introduced in schools in the state to inculcate the habit of drinking adequate water.

Gaikwad said the bell will ring thrice during school hours, enabling students to drink enough water. This is neccessary for the good health of children, she added. The state school education and sports department, in a notification on January 21, has asked schools to decide on the timing of ringing the bell and include it in their daily schedule.

The notification stated that dehydration is the root cause of many diseases among school children across the state. It said children should drink at least 1.5 to 2 litres of water, which varies according to the age, height, and weight of the child.

“It is a common complaint from parents that their wards bring the water bottle as is without even consuming it. Less water consumption can cause urinary tract infections, kidney stone, lethargy, and distressed behaviour,” it said.

The notification has asked the headmasters to fix the timing of ringing the water bell in their daily schedule, which could habituate students into consuming water on a regular basis during the school hours. Schools have been asked to give special breaks to students to use washrooms.