Good Thinking

WaterWheel aims to lighten the load for women in developing nations

The WaterWheel is designed to transport three to five times as much water as traditional methods
The WaterWheel is designed to transport three to five times as much water as traditional methods
View 2 Images
Measuring 470 mm (18.5 in) in height and 460 mm (18.11 in) in diameter, the WaterWheel has a capacity of 50 L and can be refilled through a hole 55 mm (2.16 in) on its top
1/2
Measuring 470 mm (18.5 in) in height and 460 mm (18.11 in) in diameter, the WaterWheel has a capacity of 50 L and can be refilled through a hole 55 mm (2.16 in) on its top
The WaterWheel is designed to transport three to five times as much water as traditional methods
2/2
The WaterWheel is designed to transport three to five times as much water as traditional methods

Since landing in India in September of 2011, social venture Wello has carried out extensive research in an effort to improve the efficiency of water transport and storage in developing countries. For many people living in these areas the chore of walking long distances while carrying buckets of water is inefficient, dangerous and counter-productive. The team's work has culminated in what it believes could form part of a solution, a prototype for a pushable high-quality plastic container dubbed the WaterWheel.

The Waterwheel uses the same principle as the Hippo roller which we first encountered in 2006 and is currently in use throughout Africa – i.e. why carry water when you can roll it.

Measuring 470 mm (18.5 in) in height and 460 mm (18.11 in) in diameter, the WaterWheel has a capacity of 50 L and can be refilled through a 55 mm (2.16 in) hole on its top. It also features a specially designed cap-in-cap seal to prevent recontamination at the point of use, which Wello says is the single most effective way of reducing diarrheal disease.

Health benefits aside, the WaterWheel stands to increase productivity in rural areas by significantly reducing the time spent transporting water. According to Wello, women in these regions spend an average of 25 percent of their day collecting water for their families. With an potential to transport three to five times the amount of water that can be carried using traditional methods, the WaterWheel has the potential to free up time for more constructive activities such as education and food preparation.

In developing the prototype, the team spent 15 months conducting field research and interviewed over 1500 community members in villages in the north-west of India. It will use local manufacturers in Ahmedabad, India to produce to WaterWheel which it says will help to keep costs low.

Wello's vision for the WaterWheel is outlined in the following video. You can also hit the source link below to find out how to get involved in this very worthy project.

Source: Wello

HelloWelloShort

26 comments
Wally
This is not new. A similar thing called a Hippo has been around for years in South Africa and the surrounding countries. For some reason it never really took off - probably too expensive.
Sam Gibbons
this gives me the idea of a wheelbarrow with this as the wheel... could carry more than just water or more containers of water :D
Hippo Water Roller
Wally, thank you for pointing this out. Hippo Water Roller is still going strong (invented in 1991). Please visit our website to learn more: hipporoller (dot) org It is expensive, but it is designed to be long-lasting, plus includes many benefits. Sam, you may want to view the Hippo Spaza option - to support your idea.
Ramon Fg
No energy expert here, the less in water treatment but since you have the kinetic energy there by rolling that wheel wouldn't be useful to add a generator and perhaps a battery to store that energy and use it later in a lamp or a radio or even using that power to purify that rolling water by electrolysis?
Mark Montgomery
The WaterWheel is an excellent solution to water transportation in vulnerable communities. But wait just a sec! Please feel free to call me cynical but: 1. The similarity in design and construction is remarkably, no, correction, suspiciously, similar to the Hippo Water Roller. Am I to believe that these two virtually identical solutions were developed separately by parties that are continents apart? Yes of course they were! Now pull the other leg! It’s got bells on! 2. From a design and development background I am obliged to conclude that one of these must be a bootleg “replica” (yeah right!) of the other. 3. So which came first? Well the Hippo Water Roller has been around since 1991. So the bootleg “replica” must be….hmmm …no…no... give me a minute. I’m sure I will work it out.
notarichman
I'd be more impressed if a filter was used to clean the water as it rolled along and the filter could be changed or cleaned easily and with no advanced technology required.
Grunt
Errr, I remember using something very similar to collect water from a standpipe back in the 1950's when on caravan holidays in Cornwall. It seems it has taken some time for the word to spread!
Mzungu_Mkubwa
I didn't notice anything in there about purification... did I miss it? Incorporating a silver-laced element into the hub (or something) that would kill pathogens as it rolled might be an added benefit (if also an added expense - but might be worth it?) A big challenge with these projects is maintenance (beyond the initial investment). If something breaks, they have no way to repair it or even the training as to how to get it working again, so the whole investment is lost, and they're back to square one. Building it from locally available components, providing ongoing education to local servicing providers (even equipping them in their own business enterprise of repair and support), and vision casting upgrade potentials to the users, such as a harness that attaches the wheel to the family goat, to further "automate" the process. ☺
JAT
How much $? Cost is always a problem in countries with a $300/capita/year income.
Bruce H. Anderson
Yes, the Hippo and the Water Wheel are remarkably similar. So too are the conditions that the users of these device live in. I would find it hard to beleive that the Water Wheel folks are trying to rip off anyone, since there appear to be greater priorities in play. If you can't say something nice.....