It is unlawful to refuse a person a glass of water.

In the summer-time, with temperatures reaching topping 120 degrees, often people will need water, but may not have the money to pay for it (mainly applies to homeless). Hence, the law. It is very much in effect today, with businesses being reported (and  heavily fined) who refuse to supply water to those who ask for it.

Convenience stores are the primary businesses who uphold this law.

Some folks say that this is a “blue law” from days gone by. Others say it could fall under “Reckless Endangerment” of the Arizona Revised Statutes.

13-1201. Endangerment; classification

A. A person commits endangerment by recklessly endangering another person with a substantial risk of imminent death or physical injury.
B. Endangerment involving a substantial risk of imminent death is a class 6 felony. In all other cases, it is a class 1 misdemeanor.

  • Braja

    The emergency cup! I love this love. It gets to 115 degrees in the summer, and sometimes the temperature exceeds that! God bless emergency cups!

  • Braja

    The emergency cup! I love this. It gets to 115 degrees in the summer, and sometimes the temperature exceeds that! God bless emergency cups!

  • Braja, What if you are standing next to some guy who makes you drink a glass of water every three seconds? you would eventually get bloated. Well, i guess he’ll get arrested once you explode.

  • P. C. in AZ

    This one is definitely true. I thought this was national but anyone who has worked in a restaurant or fast food in AZ knows that you cannot deny someone a glass of water if you serve drinks. This is only for establishments that serve drinks though, if your establishment is a clothing store you can refuse and of course any citizen can deny someone water. Although in the summer months you have to be a dick to not give someone a drink of water if they ask.

  • The C-man

    Can someone provide a link to the exact legislation? I want to be able to actually quote it and now that I am not just going to make a fool of myself.

  • Sam C.

    Completely non-factual; this law does not exist.

  • Joe

    I tried to use this to my benefit all the time about 10 years ago when I used to hang out on Mill Ave. when I was a teenager and usually got refused at Circle K and Jack In the Box because I wouldn’t pay for the cup or “container”. This must only apply to restaurants or establishments with reusable glasses as opposed to disposable cups. Or they amended the law to include necessary payment for containers. Or they were simply breaking the law.

  • Katy

    this is a true law. i live in Arizona and know this. i know many people who where arrested for refusing someone a drink of water…the fine is unknown. i know it sounds silly but in 115 degrees and you are dehydrated you won’t last long in the desert. so if you have no home and you are wandering in a town and you have no money, you need water or you will die. its not stupid and its not dumb. its for the saftey of people. if you think its stupid you come down to arizona go into the desert with no water and no other people miles away from civlization. no cell phones, no TV and no internet. i bet you all would be so scared and grossed out cuase ewwwwyy you saw a bug. OH NO! no one cares about a little bug in arizona.

  • Zen

    How is this supposed to be stupid? If anything it makes more sense than any law ever created.

  • Gabriella

    It is in fact NOT fake nor is it stupid. Also, you must give someone ice if they ask for it, but only if you have an ice making machine. I’ve lived in AZ. my whole life and worked in a convenience store where it was a part of training to learn this law. It does get quite hot and summer starts early.

  • laurie bates

    I live in arizona and would never refuse a reqquest for water. You could cause a death if you do. It gets extremely hot here. People, animals and birds all need water to survive. IT IS NOT, I REPEAT, NOT!! A STUPID LAW.

  • Danica

    This law applies to ALL businesses. They can’t require a “cup fee” from what I understand either, unless there is an alternate water cup available. I have actually threatened a business because they tried to charge me once.

  • Keith K

    Thank you for all the comments I have lived in Nevada for 37 years and know it used to be legal
    to shoot someone if you stold there water as for those who think it’s stupid try living here for
    a while I think you’ll change your mind!

  • So far I see many opinions but not one quotable law or statute number I can show as proof. Does anyone out there know it for sure. or is it all wishful thinking?

  • Dominique

    I’ve lived in AZ my whole life, and I have used this “It’s illegal to not provide free drinking water” many times at bars that try to sell me a bottle of water instead of giving tap water. However, it isn’t an actual law. It isn’t in the ARS. I wish it were, because I would love to quote the actual citation. I suppose you could argue good samaritan laws apply. Generally just telling a bartender it’s illegal will work.


  • Mindy T

    This is one of the best things I’ve ever heard, and I actually think it should be the law everywhere. Maybe not for street vendors, but honestly it’s inhumane to refuse water even if you don’t live in the desert. We will die without water whether we can afford to buy it or not.

  • JustinC

    NO SUCH LAW. It simply doesn’t exist. Search the Arizona Revised Statutes, and it’s not there.

  • AZ resident

    You are correct JustinC. There is NO law that requires a restaurant to even provide water to customers. I went to a restaurant in Quartzsite. They do NOT serve tap water and you may not even drink in your own bottle of water when dining in.

    However -You are free to purchase their bottled water for $1.25.
    They serve alcohol and the waitress told me they would lose their license if they allowed a customer to bring in their own bottled water. She is dead wrong.
    I sent an email to the Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control and received a response as follows “Title 4 (Arizona liquor law) and Title 19 (Arizona liquor regulation) do not restrict a licensee from allowing a patron to bring non-alcoholic beverages on to the licensed premises. This would be a house policy, not a law.”
    Bottom line – Not only do they not serve tap water – you can’t even bring in your own. They blame the government but it’s really their own house policy. (greed)

  • Richardww427

    The problem with this is that predators use this as a way to break into to people’s homes. Since you can’t refuse someone water that forces you to open your door which gives them the opportunity they wanted.

  • Erik Brock

    Yes, it does. Why are you saying that? Are you a paid shill for Nestle or something, Sam?

  • Erik Brock

    Yeah, we should just ignore each other’s needs because some people _might_ abuse our kindness.

  • Ron Kazen

    so just for my edification, have these folks never heard of a canteen or a water bottle to carry with them?

  • David

    What is the law please I had a huge run in with FAKE security guards and officers who do not know of such things PLEASE HELP!!

  • david schwartz

    It exists in the licensing agreement of certain businesses.

  • Smart4notopeningmydoor

    I lived in AZ too. 30 miles from the border. Illegals came knocking at the door of my RV one late night at an RV park. I didn’t open, I asked them who they were and what they wanted through my window. They said agua. I told them to look around in the RV park. There were many spigot that they could get water from. I was not about to open my door when they could get water from any one of those open spigots. I had heard of too many homes being raided by illegals.