BEIJING - A mobile app which tells the inhabitants of rural China if their water is safe to drink, has won a young woman from Beijing a top UN environmental award.

Xiaoyuan Ren has developed MyH2O, a data platform that provides information about the quality of groundwater in villages across the country, so residents know where to find clean water to stay healthy.

Her research suggests that around 40 per cent of those people had concerns about their drinking water but no ability to test it.

An army of volunteers travelled to around a thousand villages in 26 Chinese provinces to test water quality and then log the results in the app. MyH2O also suggests ways to purify contaminated drinking water.

Xiaoyuan Ren is one of seven innovators recognized as United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Young Champions of the Earth for 2020.