Fetching water in rural areas gets Michigan touch

Access to drinking water in rural areas has always been a concern, with women having to lug pots of water to their homes on a daily basis.

There is good news for them now as for the past 18 months, 34-year Michigan-based entrepreneur, Cynthia Koenig, has made the villages of Rajasthan her workshop to experiment and implement the Wello Water Wheel, a modification of the humble wheel which makes transportation of water easier and less cumbersome for these women.

Designed like a hand-held trolley, the device can hold up to 50 lites of water and is customised to ply on the rocky terrains, typical to the desert region.

"One in every seven women lives at least a kilometre away from their source of water and most of these women spend 25 per cent of their day in just collecting water. Not only that, women have to carry water on top of their heads resulting in chronic back, shoulder and neck ailments. Complications have been seen to rise especially during child birth due to such strenuous activity," Koenig said at the TEDx Gateway event in Mumbai where she was showcasing the Wello Water Wheel.

The idea hit Keonig whilst completing a fellowship at South Africa a few years ago where she saw the socio-economic and health effects of the water crisis. What followed was a relentless drive in building and modifying the water transportation tool. " The onus of bringing in water to the house falls on the women folk. They have better things to do than lug around water all day. But if at all they have to do it, then it must be made strain free and less time consuming," she said.

Wello Water Wheel was one of the many innovations that was showcased at the TEDxGateway event which took place at the NCPA on Sunday. Developer Abelardo Gonsalez spoke about his typeface OpenDyslexic, designed to help dyslexic people to read. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design and TEDxGateway is an annual day-long conference that features speakers from different walks of life speak on various ideas and innovations.

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