Competition winner uses cell phones to spread water info

Using text messages, NextDrop alerts residents of developing countries when they’ll have running water next.

For people in industrialized nations, the most important text messages are those that may include meeting times or billing information. For people in developing countries, where water is piped into homes sporadically, at a few hours each time, text messages are a signal that they can wash clothes, bathe and drink again.

That’s thanks to NextDrop, one of the winners of this year’s Knight News Challenge, which aims to find new ways to spread digital information. The prize? $375,000.

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