Recent reports and studies show India is facing the worst water crisis in its history. 600 million people are facing water shortage at present. Anu Sridharan, co-founder of NextDrop is doing her best to help solve this giant problem.
Global warming is real. It is affecting several countries, cities, and states. Globalization has led to the rapid rise of population and more people trying to access a limited number of resources. The climate is changing, natural resources and forests are drying up. Approximately 200,000 Indians die every year because they can’t access clean and safe drinking water. It is common to see women and children queuing up daily to collect water from public taps. 24/7 availability of water is a luxury in most towns and villages. 21 cities are rumored to run out of water before 2020 due to the inability to manage water supply. Primarily an agricultural economy, India relies a lot on water for planting and farming. About 80% of water supply to any town or village is utilized for agricultural purposes. Rains are erratic and as mentioned previously, declining every year due to global warming. Demand for water is expected to surpass supply by twice by 2030. Water is crucial for our existence, business, and food production. Most developed countries consider it a given but it remains a luxury for most Indians. The picture looks terrifying and paints a sorry future.
A civil engineer by profession, Anu Sridharan wanted to push the boundaries of technology and business. As an entrepreneur, she knew her business or idea will have a social impact. A friend of hers asked her to pilot NextDrop in India. Initially hesitant to be a leader, Anu has now embraced the role with open arms. Her personality is different from the typical, brash and overconfident leaders. She focuses on attracting talent and solving problems together instead of just going at it alone. The water scarcity crisis in India is real and escalating.
Governments and policymakers are having a tough time tackling this situation. There is no research or information on how households manage water. Wastage of water is also not studied effectively by the officials. There is no app or technology that can increase water production or supply. But it can distribute the existing water supply in a timely and efficient manner. NextDrop provides information through a text message to residents regarding water supply timings and pipeline issues. It reduces the anxiety families and people suffer from not knowing when to queue up or to save water. The water supply companies can use this data to change timings to accommodate more citizens or distribute it evenly. For somebody living in a progressive country, this can seem trivial. Yet try to imagine an overworked housewife or mother of two. Between running a household, feeding her children and family, she also has the added stress of deciding how to divide the water. Should she collect it in buckets for later because Lord knows when the tap will work next? NextDrop and Anu Sridharan are responsible for bringing peace of mind and ease to many such housewives across India.
Anu has been selected as Forbes ’30 Social Entrepreneurs under 30‘ list due to her commitment to her cause and business. As a woman and entrepreneur, she is aware of the responsibility on her shoulders. The future of leadership and co-creation is pointing at women as the faces of the generation. And people like Anu Sridharan are more than ready to take on the mantle of mentor, leader, businesswoman, and social activist. Her future plans include going to the US and work with the Government to solve employment, health or education crises using technology and businesses.