|Wheel of change: a WaterWheel user in India. Photograph: Wello|
Designed after consultations with villagers in the dry northern Indian state of Rajasthan, the Water Wheel is made from high-quality plastic that can withstand rough terrain. It will sell for $25-$30, compared with $75-$100 for similar products.
"Our goal is to distribute on a large scale, on small margins to 10,000-20,000 customers a year," says Cynthia Koenig, founder and chief executive of Wello, a US social venture working on ways to deliver clean water in poor countries. Wello won a $100,000 Grand Challenges Canada prize to develop the Water Wheel.
The idea came from an exploratory trip to India in 2010 to ask what people thought of the idea of rolling water, instead of carrying it. "We were pleasantly surprised," Koenig says. "We returned a year later, worked in close collaboration with villages in Rajasthan, and kept coming back to the idea of rolling water. We were surprised the idea had so much traction – we never thought it would work in India."