Updated on June 2, 2020


Created on August 27, 2015

Hippo Water Roller

Upcoming Update

The goal of the Hippo Water Roller is to make it easier to transport water over long distances in rural areas.

Developed By Unknown
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Product Description

The Hippo Roller is a device used to transport up to 90 litres of water by rolling a barrel shaped container along the ground. Primarily deployed in rural Africa, it is designed to collect approximately 5 times more water than a traditional bucket and to withstand being transported across rough surfaces found in rural areas.

Distributors / Implementing Organizations

Partners with Hippo Roller establish local distribution points where the roller is required. The product can also be purchased directly from the manufacturer.

Manufacturing/Building Method

The business outsources its primary manufacturing in South Africa and has a local manufacturing strategy for other countries to avoid high shipping costs and achieve a lower landed cost.

Intellectural Property Type

Trade Secret

User Provision Model

The manufacturer links with NGOs to enhance their reach and identify rural communities and households most in need of the Hippo Water Roller. The manufacturer invites retailers to work with them to offer micro-finance to customers who have difficulty affording the upfront cost of the product.

Distributions to Date Status

As of 2020, approximately 55,000 Hippo Rollers have been distributed globally.

Design Specifications

The Hippo Water Roller is a barrel-shaped containedesigned to transport up to 90 L of water over long distances. The drum, made from UV stabilized linear low-density polyethylene (LDPE), is designed to distribute the weight of the water over a wide rolling surface, meaning the effective weight when pushing a full 90 L drum is 10 kg. The clip-on steel handle provides control while rolling the Hippo Roller over difficult terrain. The cap-in-cap design helps to prevent contamination of the water and the drum’s wide opening (135 mm diameter) aids in filling, pouring and cleaning.

Technical Support

Customer support available via the Hippo Roller website, email or phone.

Replacement Components

The mini-cap is a standard soda bottle top for easy replacement if damaged.


~5 to 7 years The plastic drum and caps are recyclable, however, they are often re-purposed as storage bins, plant pots, small baths and feeding/water troughs in communities when they can no longer be used for water collection.

Manufacturer Specified Performance Parameters

To create savings in time, energy and improve health for those transporting water. To unlock time for education and empower rural farmers to develop.

Vetted Performance Status

An impact assessment performed by South Africa's Department of Rural Development and Land Reform determined that users selected for Hippo Roller trials benefited from a reduction in time spent collecting water, a reduction in incidents of back pain and hand blisters and an increase in water availability. The report suggests that overall living conditions were improved as users had more time available for productive educational and economic activities and more water available for irrigating crops.


Drum material (LDPE) is considered a low hazard plastic. No other listed hazards.

Complementary Technical Systems

Water purification options can be added to filter the water.

Academic Research and References

Noll, R., et al., 1999, Reforming Urban Water Systems in Developing Countries. Economic Policy Reform: The Second Stage.

Compliance with regulations


Other Information

Video about how the Hippo Roller is made and why.

Comments from the Community

1 Comment

  1. Syed Kamal says:

    This is a method of particulate removal from stored water. This I assume also needs a clean water treatment container (hopefully sealed). Can this filter be used untreated and treated water containers. Filtration capacity is 12 litres over what period of time? Can we take two Water Hippo rollers (water fetching device) containing untreated water and have it flow through the filter into another empty, water hippo roller tank. Capacity of both tanks is 24 gallons. If we want to sterilize water using chlorine tablets or bleech do we add them to untreated tank or the treated tank.

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