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Growing up outside of Mumbai, India, Meena Sankaran struggled to access what many people take for granted: clean drinking water. With service for only an hour a day, her family had to collect as much as they could in buckets. But the water wasn’t potable, and Sankaran’s parents couldn’t afford a filtration system.

“My mom would boil water three times for cooking, four times for drinking, and then mix the leftover boiled water with regular water so that it was lukewarm for bathing,” Sankaran says. Despite her mother’s efforts, Sankaran says she contracted several waterborne illnesses by the time she hit her mid-teens.

Now based in California, the 39-year-old engineer and entrepreneur is working to make water cleaner and more reliable — by making it smarter. Using sensors and analytic tools, Sankaran’s startup KETOS provides real-time monitoring of both water usage and quality, alerting, say, a farmer to a leak, or a municipality to a contaminant.

A dual crisis faces the world’s drinking-water supply: increasing scarcity and widespread contamination. Groundwater is being extracted at increasing rates to meet the demands of manufacturing and farming, diminishin... Read more

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