Your description reminds me of "The Silk and the Song" by Charles L. Fontenay (first published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, July 1956, available at the Internet Archive), although not everything fits. For one thing it's a novelette, not a novel; and there's nothing about a water-wheel or a river. So this is probably not the story you're looking for, but I'm telling you about it just in case you're mixing up two different stories.
, , , this young person is growing up in a primitive human culture.
The hero, Alan, is a young slave on a planet where humans, who arrived by starship a thousand years ago, are kept as slaves by the nonhuman natives of the planet.
They have some basic knowledge of astronomy and there is a special star with meaning to them (turns out to be Sol)
They call it (our Sol) the Golden Star, and they have a song about it, which begins:
Twinkle, twinkle, golden star,
I can reach you, though you're far.
Later the boy goes on a quest into the mountains and finds a lady who knows about the people's past
Alan escapes his slave-pen and meets a girl named Mara, of the Wild Humans, who leads him to their refuge in the mountains:
"Who are you, and where are you taking me?" asked Alan. In the cold light of dawn he was beginning to doubt his impetuousness in fleeing the castle.
"My name is Mara," said the girl. "You've heard of the Wild Humans? I'm one of them, and we live in these mountains."
Of course Mara knows the story, as do all of the Wild Humans; but Alan hears it from The Refugee, an old man who is the leader of the Wild Humans. (The "Star Tower" is the starship in which the humans came to the planet.)
"The tradition says that the Star Tower was once the home of all humans. There were only a dozen or so humans then, but they had powers that were great and strange. But when they came out of the Star Tower, the Hussirs were able to enslave them through mere force of numbers.
"Three of those first humans escaped to these mountains and became the first Wild Humans. From them has come the tradition that has passed to their descendants and to the humans who have been rescued from Hussir slavery.
"The tradition says that a human who enters the Star Tower can free all the humans in the world--if he takes with him the Silk and the Song."
Turns out they came from Earth (obviously)
Yep. And in the end the two of them, Alan and Mara, are on there way back to Earth, in suspended animation aboard the starship.