Date Published: July 28, 2017, 2:18 p.m.
his case study presents the NextDrop solution and its implementation in Bangalore, India. The solution helps water utilities and citizen get better information regarding water provision and when shortages occur.
NextDrop is an Indian start-up created in 2011 that offers a crowdsourcing data program aiming at improving urban water services management with mobile technologies. It provides access to real-time information regarding water availability and improves cooperation between citizens, government bodies and water utilities. NextDrop saw an opportunity to contribute to solving India’s urban water scarcity problem by betting on mobile technologies as 100% of India’s urban population is covered by mobile networks. To date, the NextDrop service has been implemented in four Indian cities: Hubli, Dharwad, Bangalore and Mysore.
The city of Bangalore faces a severe water crisis: while the population grew 47% from 2001 to 2011 to over 8.4 million, the water supply has risen only 12% from 2002 to 2012. The governmental agency responsible for water supply and sewage disposal in the city is the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB). Due to water scarcity, BWSSB is forced to ration supply to the extent that some areas of the city receive water once every two days through the piped network. BWSSB estimated that the proportion of non-revenue water was as high as 45%. The water supply is controlled by about 400 “valve men” who manually operate by turning on and off 8000 valves around the city each day. Valve men are assigned a schedule but are unable to always follow it for a variety of reasons making supply times unpredictable. So far, BWSSB and consumers have not had visibility into actual supply times because there has been no real-time feedback from the valve men. As a result, BWSSB engineers say they receive 100-150 calls every day for information on water supply. To bridge the information gap, BWSSB started working with NextDrop in 2014. The start-up had deployed its service in 40% of the city’s territory by the end of 2014, corresponding to an area with over 250.000 households and had 7.004 households signed up. In September 2015, NextDrop won the tender of BWSSB to implement the program in the remaining territory of Bangalore.
At the core of NextDrop’s service is the use of mobile communication technology to gather and disseminate information. Concretely, the NextDrop solution works as follows:
The NextDrop solution has had very positive results and brings benefits to all the parties involved:
Although the solution proposed by NextDrop seems simple, it has faced several challenges during implementation:
NextDrop: mobile technology for improved water services