Fast Company

How NextDrop Is Using Cell Phones, Crowdsourcing To Get Water To The Thirsty In many cities in developing countries, residents have piped water supplies. But there's a catch: the water is only available through the pipes for a few hours at a time, and people have no way of knowing when that will be. As a result, residents (mostly women and the poor) spend their days just waiting for the water to arrive. NextDrop, one of the winners of the Knight News Challenge, has a solution. More

Business Week

Women bear the brunt of the water carrying and waiting around The industry’s focus on women comes with an explosion in applications, spurred in part by a competition MWomen held this year for the best apps for women. One of the winners of a $10,000 prize was NextDrop, a text message system in India that sends alerts when engineers have turned on the communal taps that millions in the country rely on for water. Created by students from Stanford Business School and the University of California, it saves vital time for the poor, says Anu Sridharan, chief executive officer of Hubli, India-based NextDrop. “Women bear the brunt of the water carrying and waiting around,” she says. More

Huffington Post

Money Catches up With Meaning in Social Enterprise
In addition to conventional development initiatives addressing a range of social problems including the building of civil society, there were smart solutions impressive for their specificity. In parts of rural India, where people must frequently wait at home all day for trucks to bring clean water, a social enterprise created by students at Stanford and UC Berkeley, sends SMS water alerts to neighborhood residents in advance of the trucks, based on computational models and predictions. More

Circle of Blue

Do It and Prove It - Information Technology Opens Up the Water Sector
Pressed by the need to provide clean drinking water for nearly 900 million people, a new generation of innovators is creating technology tools and an information economy that will transform water supply accountability and empower customers to demand better service from their water providers. Among the most popular and effective new tools are mobile phones and mapping technologies that rely on rising access to wireless Internet connections and cloud computing to facilitate the flow of information. More

Berkeley Engineering

A 411 on water's next drop
NextDrop, a first-place co-winner in UC Berkeley's 2010 Big Ideas competition, partnered with a local non-governmental organization last summer to begin a pilot study of some 200 households in Hubli. The students recruited residents to form a mobile phone network in which participants called NextDrop when water arrived in their neighborhood. Once the call was received, NextDrop verified the information by contacting two other households, then generated cell phone messages to all participants served by the same water valve. More


Making a Splash: NextDrop Monitors Water Flow in Urban India
Water is becoming one of the most contested resources in the world as populations increase and the availability of fresh water decreases. MobileActive spoke to the team behind NextDrop, an organization that uses mobile technology to monitor water flow in urban India. Designed by a team of Berkeley and Stanford graduate students, the idea for NextDrop came out of a class at Berkeley's School of Information on how to use information technology for sustainable development. More

Save One

Ending the Wait
NextDrop works by relying on multiple sources: utility employees who report when they open city water valves and residents who confirm that the water has begun to flow. The utility employees' information is used to notify residents 30-60 minutes ahead of time. Finally, random residents are contacted by phone to verify the information, creating a feedback loop that can alert officials to any problems in water distribution, such as a broken pipe. More

Save One

India: how to keep the water flowing
A group of graduate students from the University of California, Berkeley, decided to tackle this problem of unreliable water supply by creating a system that harnesses the ubiquity of mobile phones in India and dependability of crowd-sourcing to provide accurate information on water availability. The students launched a pilot project, called NextDrop, with 200 families in six areas in Hubli, a city in southern India in July 2010. The project was initially funded with $5,000 from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and has since received other grants, according to Emily Kumpel, a Berkeley PhD candidate in civil and environmental engineering who helped conceive of the project idea. More

Save One

Anywhere in India, water could be a phone call away
The twin city of Hubli-Dharwad is the second largest conurbation in Karnataka after Bangalore. But only 10 percent of its 191 sq km area receives 24-hour water supply. Frequent leakages in PVC pipelines and distribution network problems render the water supply in the rest of the area to be sparse. While the unscheduled timing of water supply not only builds up stress levels in affected individuals, it leads to enormous working hour losses as people wait at home all day in anticipation of trucks that will bring them clean drinking water. In an attempt to address this concern, students from the Stanford School of Business and the University of California, Berkeley have collaborated on a project that aims to ease, if not provide a complete solution, to the pangs of water troubles in India and elsewhere in the world. More