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Wello Water Wheel and Hippo Water Roller Project Serve People and Save Time

Two Great Ideas!

Feb 13, 2014

One of the greatest hardships for people in developing countries is obtaining clean water for basic needs such as drinking, cooking and washing. Even when water is obtained it isn’t necessarily clean.

Fortunately, great need becomes the mother of invention. Sometimes inventions appear almost simultaneously, with uncanny similarity.

Two such products are The Wello Water Wheel, launched in 2010 by Cynthia Koenig, and the Hippo Water Roller Project which dates back to 1991.

The Wello Water Wheel

In one of the videos we’ve uploaded, Koenig explains a time in her life when she had to carry water for herself when living in Mexico. It was heavy, sometimes it was spilled, and she could never carry enough. As a business entrepreneur she decided to seek a solution.

Koenig won a $100,000 grant from Grand Challenges Canada to develop her idea. She traveled to Rajasthan, India in 2010 with a team of designers and came up with the Wello Wheel. It holds fifty liters of water, is constructed from durable plastic, can roll over sandy or rocky ground and can either be pulled or pushed by dual handles. These devices save people (mostly women) from crippling neck and spinal compression injuries developed over years of carrying water balanced on their heads.

In addition to being a time-saving and labor-saving water carrying device, it can be used for water filtration and drip irrigation. It could be used as a rolling billboard for advertising, and most interesting, could be used for energy generation to recharge cell phones or other devices.

The Hippo Water Roller Project

The Hippo Water Roller Project is a non-profit organization, endorsed by President Nelson Mandela. It was first developed by two South Africans in 1991. Their website details the project, and information regarding purchase and distribution. To date, 42,000 Hippo Rollers have been given to people in need. The Hippo Roller is larger than the Wello Water Wheel, holding ninety liters of water in comparision to fifty. It sells for about $125. That price is probably out of the buying range of the average person in need of it, hence the project seeks sponsorships. To find out if your organization can sponsor this project, or to learn more, please visit

The Wello Wheel is using a business approach for distribution, which may be a more sustainable idea. It is smaller and more affordable, costing between $20-$30 retail, a more managable price. Using it as a tool for commerce may help to solve the issue of how to pay for it too, by implementing Wello’s ‘Business in A Barrel’ idea. The person who owns the water wheel could use it to deliver water door to door for a fee, or could come up with other business ideas for its use. To learn more, please visit

People in developing countries endure many kinds of inconveniences and hardship. It is heartening when affordable inventions become available to lessen their suffering. Grant Gibbs of the Hippo Roller Project said in a video that the water availability problem is very widespread. Up to a billion people worldwide do not have running water in their homes. If you're looking for a way to help others in developing countries, these are both great projects.

Posted by Kimmy Sophia Brown

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