LA Council approves Water Wheel over LA River

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The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday gave its approval to build a 70-foot steel water wheel in the Los Angeles River north of downtown as both an art project and practical way to hydrate the area. Developed by Metabolic Studios, the $10 million project envisions erecting the wheel in the river underneath the North Broadway Bridge, near Chinatown’s Los Angeles State Historic Park. It is completely privately funded by the firm, which so far has received 22 different permits for the work.

“This is so much more than just an arts project,” Councilman Mitch O’Farrell said. “Some 100-plus years ago, back in the 1860s, we had nine water wheels in the river that provided a very organized approach to watering our fields.

“This is a demonstration with practical uses that will deliver water to parks and other properties. I think this is one project that will be more than symbolic. It will reintroduce the water wheel on the Los Angeles River.”

Councilman Paul Koretz praised the studio for financing the project. “This is the kind of thinking we need as we move from being a concrete city,” Koretz said.