Field Manual Current Meter Streamflow Measurement by Wading


Dr. Greg Perzyna



RE&EE Category Taxonomy: 

  • Hydropower
  • Micro and Pico Hydropower systems
  • Small Hydropower

File Tag: 

  • Technical Trainning


Quality of design and operation of water projects depends on reliable streamflow information. With a boosting up number of planned hydropower projects, agriculture, road construction, water supply and flood control projects the need for streamflow data and information will rapidly increase. These data are essential to both the planning and design of these projects and to the effective management of future infrastructure and installations.

The final reliability of hydrological information directly depends on the quality of the original field measurements. The good work of a person making these measurements is critical to accurately estimate the streamflow rates. Field operator has therefore the ultimate responsibility for the collection of discharge data of an adequate quality.

This manual is intended to be a quick and easy reference for you as you begin with discharge measurements in natural rivers. The manual concentrates on the current meter streamflow measurement by wading. The method is commonly used in initial investigations of potential mini and small hydropower sites. The subject of river discharge measurements is vast and complex and this manual do not pretend to comprehensively explore it. You should remember that theory can never replace the practical field experience.

The manual is an unofficial, internal publication of ECREEE which was prepared for the purpose of a training workshop. The distribution of this manual is meant to be limited. It should be noted that the document draws heavily on information provided by following fundamental works:

  • The “Streamflow measurement” by Reginald W. Herschy, (2009),
  • The USGS “Discharge measurements at gaging stations” (2010) by D. Phil Turnipseed and Vernon B. Sauer,
  • The “Manual of British Columbia Hydrometric Standards” prepared by the British Columbia Ministry of Environment Science and Information Branch for the Resources Information Standards Committee, (2009).
  • The WMO “Manual of stream gauging, Volume I Fieldwork” (2010),
  • The ISO 748 “Measurement of liquid flow in open channels using current meters or floats” (2007).

Some parts of this manual were taken verbatim from these publications. Although some of these parts are not specifically referred to, credit is hereby given to authors of these publications.

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