The Hippo Roller

Designed in Africa for Africa the Hippo Water Roller enables women, children and the elderly to collect 5 times more water than a single bucket by simply rolling it along the ground. The savings in time, energy and reduced suffering are immense and the positive social-impact benefits are far reaching.

Simple solution

An effective and efficient way to carry 90 litres (5x buckets) of water, much more easily and in less time by simply rolling along the ground.

Award-winning design

It was specifically designed to be maintenance-free and for use in tough rural conditions, with a long lifespan of 5 - 7 years, often much longer.

Tangible results

It reduces long-term injuries caused by carrying heavy loads of water and gives women & children more time for education and economic activities.

Effective & EfficientSABS-Approved-Graphic_design-institute

  • Appropriate technology for undeveloped communities where there is no reliable water infrastructure
  • Carries 90 litres (5 x buckets)
  • Durable – designed for use in tough terrain
  • Long lifespan – 5 to 7 years, often much longer
  • Weight of water is borne on the ground and distributed over a wide rolling surface
  • Large opening for easy cleaning
  • Maintenance-free design, requires no replacement parts and promotes continuous use in rural location
  • Environmentally friendly: The wide rolling surface helps compact soil to minimize erosion unlike narrow wheelbarrows
  • Once damaged beyond its usefulness for water collection, it has other uses including a storage bin, a feeding/watering trough for animals and a bath for washing clothes and children


Quality & Durability

  • Specifically designed for use in tough rural conditions.
  • Thick drum wall to prevent breakages. Made of UV stabilized material to withstand harsh sunny conditions. Stresses caused by rolling over uneven surfaces are diffused around entire drum.
  • Embedded sand granules add an extra layer of extra protection – sand rolling on sand.
  • Strong steel handle for full control when pushing or pulling or negotiating obstacles.
  • Maintenance-free design: Screw-cap wears In, not Out – seals better with time. No rubber seals which perish – minimal leakage.
  • Long Life-span: 5 – 7 years, often much longer.

Design Awards

  • The SABS Design Institute* awarded the Hippo Water Roller the Cullinan Award (Industrial Category) in 1992; and the “Design for Development” award in 1997.
  • The Hippo Water Roller was a finalist in the INDEX: 2005 Award of the INDEX: Design to Improve Life® and received “Top Nominee” status in the Home category.


Social Impact

  • The Hippo roller is an appropriate technology widely accepted in many countries by undeveloped communities where there is no reliable water infrastructure. Global Reach…

Empowers women & children

  • The benefits experienced are immediate.
  • Reduces the suffering and long-term injuries caused by carrying heavy loads.
  • Improves hygiene and health resulting in higher energy and morale levels.
  • Saves many hours a day allowing more time for other important tasks.
  • More time attending school for better education opportunities.
  • More time for economic activities to break free of poverty e.g. vegetable gardens.
  • The elderly no longer have to rely on their neighbours goodwill to get water.
  • Positive cultural change – Men are proud to collect water using a Hippo roller.
  • The irrigation Cap feature helps small-scale farmers to irrigate crops more efficiently for increased productivity and income generation.


Give Communities Improved Access to Water

Our project provides immediate benefits and tangible results


Other Uses

The Irrigation & filter cap was specifically designed to assist small-scale farmers to irrigate their crops more efficiently:


  • It allows small-holder farmers to transport 90 litres of water at a time and irrigate crops far more efficiently
  • Convenient dispensing of water through the mini-cap
  • Mini-cap is a standard soda bottle top for easy replacement if damaged
  • No need to unclip the handle
  • No need to stand the drum upright to access the water

spaza-rollerThe Hippo Mobile Spaza* is an instant mobile shop using the Hippo roller as a transport vehicle and display facility for products to be sold in rural and informal communities:

  • A trolley for transporting products to market
  • A display stand for selling their products
  • Branding can be extended onto the canvas top
  • Emergency transport for the sick and injured

* A Spaza is a Zulu term for an informal convenience shop.


  • Utilize the Irrigation & filter cap as a screw-on filter (Sawyer) for clean water consumption


  • Utilize the LifeStraw Individual & Family version


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