October 11, 2013

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Mark Hanna, Los Angeles River Water Wheel Featured in LA Times

Mark Hanna, Ph.D., P.E., a senior water resources engineer and an Associate for Geosyntec Consultants based in California, is featured in a recent Los Angeles Times feature relating exciting developments on Metabolic Studio's "LA Noria" Water Wheel Project, aptly named "Bending the River Back into the City" by artist Lauren Bon.

Geosyntec is the prime consultant working for Metabolic Studio in a public-private partnership that will create the first Los Angeles River Water Wheel in more than 100 years. The project entails the design and construction of a six-foot high retractable diversion within the channel of the LA River, and a tunnel to direct the flow to the new water wheel. The water wheel, operating only by force of water, will lift a small fraction of the LA River's flow to be used for local irrigation, offsetting nearly 80 acre-feet of water demands (representing a savings of more than $100,000) every year.

Once it receives proper approvals to move forward, the project has the potential to transform one of the most heavily industrialized stretches of the LA River into a shady retreat and park for use by the public. In fact, it will be the first project that actually removes concrete from the historic channel walls of the river, and would be a major component in a much larger plan to revitalize multiple sections of the river's previous ecosystem.

As Dr. Hanna describes in the Times feature: An inflatable dam across the river would create an impoundment area holding water to a depth of 6 feet, creating enough pressure to propel 30 cubic feet of water per second into a 42-inch, 160-foot-long tunnel burrowed through the river channel's concrete wall. On the other side, the water would turn the wheel twice a minute, lifting 40 buckets each rotation with the contents spilling into the distribution network.

Dr. Hanna is the project director for the design phase of the water wheel project, working closely with artist Lauren Bon on the initial prototypes of the wheel. Engineers and scientists from several Geosyntec offices are involved in the design phase of this project, including those based in Los Angeles, Sacramento, Huntington Beach, Houston, and Oak Brook.