A simple design tweak now allows water to be pushed instead of carried or balanced on top of the head. The WaterWheel can roll on the ground with 20 gallons of water inside, making life easier for the one in six people worldwide who must gather water daily.
Water weighs eight pounds per gallon and PBS reports that a person living in sub-Saharan Africa uses an average of four gallons per day. The task of finding and collecting water is often subjugated to women and children who must carry many loads of water in buckets or baskets. The negative consequences of such demanding daily work for water include children missing out on school to complete household tasks, or women and children exposed to danger if they have to walk far for water.
Cynthia Koenig founded the business venture Wello with a business plan to “meet the needs of the billion people worldwide who do not have reliable access to water.” Wello is able to brag, “Our business model results in better health, female empowerment, access to education and sustainable income generation.”
Asked to describe herself, Koenig wrote, “committed. passionate. thirsty.” She is indeed thirsty for change as she focuses on business ventures that benefit the developing world. She credits the creation of Wello to her “years of personal experience in water scarce environments.”
Wello began distributing the WaterWheel in Rajasthan, India– a place known for its dry climate and where 90% of the people are dependent on ground water. The business plan is to make money from the advertising surfaces available on the Wheel.
“There’s a lot of daily work I have to do,” says a 45-year-old woman who tested the product (in a Michigan Ross School Of Business press release). “With extra time [that the WaterWheel would provide], I could have more cattle because I’d have time to take care of them. This would increase my income. Also, with more time and increased livestock, young girls can go to school.”
Wello is now hoping to bring the WaterWheel into wide circulation and is even considering partnering with the U.N. to work in war-torn Sudan.
Photo by Josh Dick
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