Active Energy Water Wheel

A new water wheel has been installed on the Waterworks River to help the survival of fish and wildlife. In certain weather conditions sewage and other pollution finds its way in to the river, which flows into the River Lea. The pollution uses up oxygen and can cause fish to die. Lock gates along the river are raised intermittently to allow water to flow and at these times the wheel turns, driving air into the river. 

The wheel is the latest initiative of the Active Energy project led by artist Loraine Leeson with members of the Geezers Club from AgeUK Bow. Their collaboration commenced in response to a question about why the life experience of older people was failing to inform new developments in technology, and twelve years later they are still countering this assumption. With the help of engineer Toby Borland, they have developed different schemes which demonstrate how sustainable energy can be used to support their community. Through its work the group has contributed to three university research projects, conducted many talks and presentations and held a further exhibition in the US in collaboration with a seniors’ group in Pittsburgh. To accompany the new water wheel, workshops have been held in nearby Bow School, where pupils have constructed their own working models of renewable energy turbines while learning about environmental issues affecting the planet.

There will be a launch event on Friday 20 September from 2 – 4pm at The Last Drop where you can learn more about the project, meet the participants and think about what you can do to help counter the effects of climate change. 


 Water wheel floating on a river