The purpose of this manuscript is to describe a collaborative research initiative to explore the role of hydration in kidney health. Our understanding of the effects of hydration in health and disease is surprisingly limited, particularly when we consider the vital role of hydration in basic human physiology. Recent initiatives and research outcomes have challenged the global medical community to expand our knowledge about hydration, including the differences between water, sugared beverages and other consumables. Identification of the potential mechanisms contributing to the benefits of hydration has stimulated the global nephrology community to advance research regarding hydration for kidney health. Hydration and kidney health has been a focus of research for several research centers with a rapidly expanding world literature and knowledge. The International Society of Nephrology has collaborated with Danone Nutricia Research to promote development of kidney research initiatives, which focus on the role of hydration in kidney health and the global translation of this new information. This initiative supports the use of existing data in different regions and countries to expand dialogue among experts in the field of hydration and health, and to increase scientific interaction and productivity with the ultimate goal of improving kidney health.