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WaterWheel Eases Burden on Women

Half the Sky Movement

The WaterWheel is a round 50-liter container that enables water collectors in rural areas of developing countries to roll water from wells instead of carrying it on their heads. US social venture, Wello, created this device with women in mind. In India, the WaterWheel saves time and eases the burden on women who tend to be the primary water collectors. The device has been popular among men who have taken up or split the role of collecting water, which frees up time for women to do other things.

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  • Trevor Lakey

    Sounds like a great idea, and good to see all the extra points and information in the discussion below. I read a few months ago (UK Guardian, 2nd August, 2013) about very intermittent supply of water being a major problem in India, and an initiative called NextDrop that is looking to address this through use of texting systems. Have you come across this and what is your take on the issue of access to supplies?

  • Kristin Pedemonti

    Excellent design concept and I have the same questions as many of the other "respondees" regarding distribution and what they are made from. Thank you for making an arduous task a bit less so. And here's hoping for wider distribution.

  • Carla Compton

    What a wonderful idea! And how thoughtful! Anything that's "good" that helps our Indian Friends I am of course all for it. And inasmuch as our entire world! However, I have two questions (the third 'post' actually - my "P.S."), what exactly are these WaterWheels made of, particularly if any of the women, or even children, men, have to travel far & back getting water; the molecular 'make up', etc.? Are these WaterWheels at all harmful to the water being put in and transported?

  • Carla Compton

    P.S. I forgot to also ask, what do these WaterWheels cost "them"?

  • cynthia.koenig.9

    thanks for your comments! we are currently working in partnership with several NGOs in 4 Indian states (whose support enables us to offer our product to consumers at an affordable price). so far, we've received a fantastic response to our WaterWheel prototype, and our team is currently working on making the WaterWheel better and more affordable for consumers. happy to answer additional questions - pls. visit for contact info!

  • Jotten

    I also would like more information about the distribution of the water wheels. Is there a program in place where churches and civic organizations can purchase them with a guarantee as to where they will go? Our church in the past has purchased water filters for poor villages and had a well dug this summer. This looks like a good project but we would need more info on the safeguards ensuring they go to the areas with the greatest need.

    • Grant Gibbs

      Jotten, the original Hippo water roller (90L) was designed in 1991 by 2 South Africans and still distributed around the globe in partnership with corporates, NGO's and communities. The WaterWheel is a smaller copy (50L) of the Hippo roller. Visit to see how we continue to distribute the Hippo water roller. All sponsorship is fully applied to sponsor Hippo rollers to communities. Start here:

  • Nicole Darabian

    Innovative and practical, seems to be a great way to ease the burden of such arduous task. I just wonder, who is the WaterWheel sold to? Directly to the population or is it distributed through NGOs/grassroots organizations aiding people in rural villages? Would be really interesting knowing more about the selling process of this device.

  • Alessandra Rizzotti

    Really great to see more of these innovations. Wondering how this is different than the hippo roller? I've seen some interesting innovations- one for strapping water to the back- and apparently they're less labor-intensive.

      • Nancy Walkup

        Can you tell me where I can find the newer video you did on the hippo roller? The one that converts into a market stall?

          • Nancy Walkup

            Grant, how would you like to have an article in SchoolArts Magazine about the Hippo Roller Project? We have been published since 1901 for art teachers of students K-12 and I would love to make them aware of your efforts. You can check us out online at Thanks!

            Nancy Walkup, Editor, SchoolArts Magazine

            • Grant Gibbs

              Hi Nancy - that would be wonderful, thank you.
              I have always believed in the power of the youth and I'm wondering if we could challenge them to help children in underdeveloped countries by fundraising to sponsor Hippo rollers for them?
              I have a partner organisation in Canada which has non-profit status to facilitate this and they have some cool ideas on linking donors directly with beneficiaries.
              Their website is still being developed, but you can see the initial layout here:
              Luke Vostermans is my contact.
              Perhaps we could continue this discussion via email?