Having worked in the slums of Mumbai where safe drinking water is a scarce resource, Anu Sridharan, 26, is passionate about improving access and health for communities in urban India.
A former civil engineering student, Anu set up NextDrop to revolutionise the way governments and public services in India communicate with individuals.
The organisation sends text message alerts to more than 75,000 residents in the city of Hubli-Dharwad to notify them with the date and time a fresh supply of water is due to be piped to their area.
Making the most of every drop
Millions of households have a piped water supply but with water only available for a few hours at a time, it’s vital to make the most of every drop – and store enough for families to drink, wash and keep their homes hygienic.
Another issue is that, depending on the area, water can take up to ten days to arrive. Water utility companies face difficulties tracking their water distribution and often lack the technology to monitor and manage their distribution systems effectively.
And NextDrop doesn’t just benefit residents. Engineers receive reports when water deliveries are delayed – and it’s all managed in real time using basic mobile phone handsets.
Following success in Hubli-Dharwad, NextDrop is now working with utility companies in Bangalore to provide water-management tools to their engineers.
From civil engineer to social entrepreneur
Speaking about becoming a finalist for the Unilever Sustainable Living Young Entrepreneur Awards, Anu says: “This is such a great honour, and we here at NextDrop are so thankful for this opportunity.”
Anu was recently featured in the Forbes magazine ‘30 Social Entrepreneurs Under 30’ list for her work with NextDrop.
She holds a master’s degree from the Civil and Environmental Engineering programme at the University of California, Berkeley, where her research focused on the optimisation of piped networked systems in developing economies.