Project Details



Alerting residents to water supplies by SMS.

Project URL:
Project Twitter: @nextdrop

  • Health
  • Data
  • Mobile

Water could be the scarcest resource of the next two decades as cities around the world grow, putting more strain on traditional sources. More than half a billion people around the world have access to treated, piped water only sporadically. They have water for only a few hours at a time once or twice a week. In Hubli-Dharwad, for example, in the south Indian state of Karnataka, over one million residents have access to treated municipal water once every 2–8 days. There is considerable variability in the schedule, making it difficult for residents to plan ahead and know when to be at home to collect water.

Usually residents have no way of knowing when the water will be available. Poor communication means that people sometimes have to wait for days and days for an alert, or worse, can miss the period when water is available completely. In water-scarce areas, women, and especially young girls, spend hours carrying water from remote standpipes to their homes. Water carrying is one reason girls are taken out of school early.

NextDrop, also known as the Smart Water Supply Message Service, was launched in September 2011 to provide residents with water alerts by SMS telling them in advance when water will be available so they can plan accordingly. To date, more than 25,000 households have signed up for the service, which is building relationships with utility providers, to enable them to offer customers a better service.

NextDrop was designed by a student social entrepreneur, Anu Sridharan, at UC-Berkley, working with colleagues in public policy and civil engineering. After the successful pilot in Karnataka, Sridharan is looking to scale the service across the country.

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Last updated: 09th of May, 2014

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