Water Roller

The Hippo Water Roller makes more water and time available for education, household tasks and food production enabling people to transport up to five times more water to their homes and food gardens.
Water Roller
The Hippo Water Roller was developed in 1991 by two South Africans in response to the daily struggle of rural women and children across Africa to access safe, drinkable water.
The award-winning technology is a distinctive portable water innovation that enables rural communities to transport water more easily and in less time than with traditional methods.


The 90 litre Hippo Water Roller is a strong and durable barrel-shaped container equipped with a steel handle with which it can be pushed or pulled.
The design of the Hippo Water Roller allows water to be placed ‘inside the wheel’ so that the weight is borne on the ground and distributed over a wide rolling surface.

Effective & Efficient

The effective weight of the 90 kg drum is just 10 kg when pushed or rolled on level ground, making it very user friendly for women, children and the physically weak.

  • Carries 90 litres (5 x buckets)
  • Large opening for easy cleaning
  • Hygienic storage of water

Proven Durability

Specifically designed for daily use in tough rural conditions, including uneven surfaces, gravel roads and sharp stones. It has a long lifespan of 5 – 10 years.

  • Thick drum wall – no joints
  • UV-stabilised polyethylene
  • Strong electroplated steel handle


Its maintenance-free design requires no replacement parts and promotes continuous daily use in rural and economically poor communities.

  • Screw cap wears in – not out
  • No rubber seals which perish
  • No spare parts required

2018 Update

The new screw-cap has a seal and a built-in (recessed) mini-cap. The primary reason for the new cap is to assist small-scale farmers with a simple irrigation feature as well as provide a more hygienic means of extracting water without contaminating the contents with dirty hands.

  • Standard soda bottle top
  • Easy replacement
  • Improved hygiene

Replacement parts

We now include a pack of potential replacement parts with every Hippo Roller to ensure a long-lifespan of 5 years and more. These include spare protective “bearings” which fit onto the ends of the steel handle and clip into the recesses on the drum.

Also included are spare mini-caps (standard soda bottle tops) and a spare O-ring for the large cap. Furthermore the cap has been designed with a two-stage seal so that once the O-rings are no longer useable, the rounded edge on the cap seals against the 45 degree angle on the drum.

  • Spare protective “bearings” for steel handle
  • Spare mini-caps for the large cap
  • Spare O-ring for the large cap

Standard Utility Cap

The Utility Cap comes standard with every Hippo Roller. It is effectively a cap-in-cap design to ensure water is hygienically dispensed and contamination is reduced. It also functions as an irrigation tool.


    The utility cap features an inside cap which enables users to draw water without opening the larger seal.
    This reduces the risk of contamination and ensures the hygienic storage of water.
    If lost, the inside cap can be replaced with a standard soda-bottle top.

    The cap allows small-holder farmers to irrigate their crops far more efficiently.
    No need to remove the handle and no need to stand the drum upright to access the water.
    Filters and other point-of-use water treatment products can be added to further improve the quality of the stored water.
    Improving access to has never been this easy.

    Hippo Spaza

    The functionality of the Hippo Water Roller is enhanced by the addition of the Hippo Spaza, a specially designed steel frame that can be attached to the Hippo Roller.




    This steel frame converts the Hippo Roller into a simple trolley for transporting products to preferred high traffic customer market locations, and then into a stand for product display.
    The Hippo Spaza Shop promotes economic activity and job creation within rural markets, a priority in poverty alleviation.
    To encourage corporate sponsors and advertisers to get involved, we have added the option to include branding on both the Hippo roller and Hippo Spaza Shop.
    The frame of the Hippo Spaza Shop is strong enough to be used as an emergency stretcher in remote areas to carry the sick and injured.


    2016 Frost & Sullivan – African Rural Portable Water Solutions Product Leadership Award

    2005 INDEX2005 Denmark – Top Nominee
    1997 SABS Design Institute – Design for Development
    1992 SABS – Cullinan Design Award

    Designers: Pettie Petzer and Johan Jonker, South Africa (1991)

    Materials: Polyethylene (UV stabilized), Mild Steel (electroplated)

    Dimensions: 90l / 24gal Drum – 50 x 50 x 65 cm, Cap – 135mm, Handle – 2 x 70 x 100 cm