How to lift water out of a ditch

How to lift water out of a ditch

2000 years ago, Arabs invented the noria, a machine for lifting water out of channels. The noria was a technological break-through, because it did not need human or animal power to make it run.

The noria uses the water's current to turn the large lifting wheel. Small compartments along the outer edge of the wheel dip into the water and fill. As the wheel turns, the water in the compartments is lifted up to the top of the wheel where it discharges into a tank or pipe.

Current wheels were used in Boulder and Grand Junction to lift water into flumes, but there is no record of their long-term use. Perhaps they were fussy machines which did not stand up well to the fluctuating water levels in Colorado's mountain-fed streams and ditches.

Right, clockwise from the top left: A Noria at Hama, Syria, built in 900AD. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Lifting Wheels on the Gunnison River, 1886. From Harper's Weekly, Greg Hobbs Collection.

Current Wheel in Boulder, Boulder & White Rock Ditch, Central Park, ca 1900.  Photo courtesy of Carnegie Branch Library for Local History, Boulder CO.

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