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Coming Soon? Huge Water Wheel at L.A. State Historic Park

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Early prototype of wheel that will irrigate park. (Photo courtesy of LA County Supervisor's Office)

The area near the Los Angeles State Historic Park may be getting a nifty, new attraction: a 60-foot-tall operating water wheel that will take millions of gallons of water from the LA River and use it to irrigate the grounds of the park. According to Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavksky's website, the endeavor could save the city a much-needed $100,000 per year.

This won't be the first water wheel to grace the site. In the mid-1800's, a wooden wheel sat in the same area next to the community's original aqueduct known as Zanja Madre, or "Mother Ditch." The new wheel would be modeled after its historic predecessors and will be aptly named "La Noria," the water wheel.

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Artist Lauren Bon, who created a strawberry garden on the VA grounds in West LA and planted corn in a previously unused field downtown, is designing the project and will once again work with funds from the Annenberg Foundation.

“I think it’s really critical for us to take a pause and think about our definition of the city,” Bon said, according to Yaroslavksky's site. “My position is that it’s time to look at the next hundred years. This work is about saying we need to do a lot better very quickly with figuring out two things: how to retain our water and how to send the rest of it out to sea cleaner.” Water picked up by the wheel would be filtered before use; the water not used for irrigation, now clean, would drain into the ocean.

Assuming there are no major hiccups in the process, Yaroslavsky says the wheel will be completed in November of 2013 -- just in time to help mark and celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first aqueduct.