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The Joint Research Centre (JRC) is the European Commission's science and knowledge service which employs scientists to carry out research in order to provide independent scientific advice and support to EU policy.
Water wheels are hydropower converters installed in sites with heads typically below 6 m. Due to their low environmental impacts and costs, water wheels are sustainable technologies. The estimation of their weight is essential to quantify construction and transportation costs, and the load on the ground. The weight estimation of a water wheel is the aim of the present study. A short-cut equation, relating the wheel weight to head and flow rate, is derived by collecting and analysing a database of existing water wheels. A qualitative comparison with analogous equations for Kaplan and Francis turbines is shown, illustrating the similarity between water wheels and Francis turbines. The proposed equations can be used in civil engineering applications to estimate the permanent load of a water wheel, while the collected database can be used for elaborations and validations in future researches and projects.