The first time I walked in my current art room I saw a utility cart which I decided would be the official water area. I placed it in the back of the room under a window. It holds all of the paint sets, paint brushes and water containers. There are also poster illustrating proper brush care on the wall next to the window.
2. Recycle old bottles/plastic containers
I drink a lot of bottled water and later fill the empty bottles with clean water. I also use plastic food containers that have been washed as water containers for each group of students who are painting.
3. Purchase containers from the Dollar Store
The dollar store is a great place to purchase affordable larger plastic containers. I use a water pitcher to store and clean paint brushes. A plastic garbage can is used to dump dirty water. I'm also able to clean dirty plastic containers by holding them over the garbage can and pouring clean water over them from the recycled water bottles.
4. Use pre-cut towels as cleaning cloths
For cleaning dirty hands and tables, I fold/cut pieces of paper towel which are kept it in a plastic dish bin. By pouring clean water on the towels, I can pass them out to the students as they are needed. I also have hand sanitizer and non-toxic cleanser for wiping the tables.
5. Have students assist in the maintenance of the water area
I select two responsible students from upper el classes to dump the dirty water and fill up the water bottles in the bathroom. For younger grades, I do it myself.