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United States Department of the Interior Bureau of Reclamation

A guide to effective water measurement practices for better water management

United States Department of the Interior Bureau of Reclamation
Water Resources Research Laboratory
In cooperation with



These web pages are maintained by the Hydraulic Investigations Group at www.usbr.gov/pmts/hydraulics_lab/pubs/wmm/
For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402. As the Nation's principal conservation agency, the Department of the Interior has responsibility for most of our nationally owned public lands and natural resources. This includes fostering sound use of our land and water resources; protecting our fish, wildlife, and biological diversity; preserving the environmental and cultural values of our national parks and historical places; and providing for the enjoyment of life through outdoor recreation. The Department assesses our energy and mineral resources and works to ensure that their development is in the best interests of all our people by encouraging stewardship and citizen participation in their care. The Department also has a major responsibility for American Indian reservation communities and for people who live in island territories under U.S. Administration.


(Section names followed by
symbol include external resources. "Additional Information" sections are not part of the printed Water Measurement Manual.) Cover Page Preface

Chapter 1 - Introduction
1. Need 2. Benefits of Better Water Measurement 3. Scope 4. Use of the Manual 5. Bibliography

Chapter 2 - Basic Concepts Related to Flowing Water and Measurement
1. Introduction 2. Kinds of Flow 3. Basic Principles of Water Measurement 4. Discharge-Area-Velocity Relationships 5. Flow Totalization 6. Other Examples of Velocity Flow Measurement Devices 7. Velocity Head Concept 8. Orifice Relationships 9. Thin Plate Weir Relationships 10. Energy Balance Flow Relationships 11. Hydraulic Mean Depth and Hydraulic Radius 12. Froude Number, Critical Flow Relationships 13. Discharge Equation for Broad-Crested Rectangular Weirs 14. Application of Energy Principle to Tube-Type Flowmeters 15. Equation Coefficients 16. Normal Flow Equations and Friction Head Loss 17. Approach Flow Conditions 18. Bibliography

Chapter 3 - Measurement Accuracy
1. Introduction 2. Definitions of Terms Related to Accuracy 3. Capability Terms 4. Comparison Standards 5. Examples of Calibration Approaches and Accuracy Calculations 6. Bibliography

Chapter 4 - Selection of Water Measuring Devices

Installation of Water-Stage Recorders 7. Bibliography Chapter 6 . Weir Nomenclature and Classification 4. Stilling Well Considerations 8. Maintenance. Some Traditional Standard Irrigation Weirs 9. Rough Water Surface 6.Measuring and Recording Water Stage or Head 1. Standard Contracted Rectangular Weirs 10. Standard Suppressed Rectangular Weir 11. Poor Installation and Workmanship 11.1. Exit Flow Conditions 9. Weir Selection 17. Background and Scope 2. Selection Guidelines 5. Poor Flow Patterns 8. Bibliography Chapter 5 . Recording Gages 6. Measuring Techniques Reducing Accuracy of Measurement 12. Definition of Weirs 3. Operation. Types of Measuring Devices 3. V-Notch Weirs of Any Angle 8. Special Weirs 14. Velocity Head in Approach 7. Different Sharp or Thin-Plate Weir Types 5. Standard Devices Versus Nonstandard Devices 3. Approach Flow 4. Partially and Fully Contracted Rectangular Weirs 7. Turbulence 5. Bibliography Chapter 7 . Fully Contracted Standard 90-Degree V-Notch Weir 12. Cipoletti Weir 13. Velocity of Approach Corrections 15. Sharp-Crested Weir Construction and Installation 4 .Inspection of Water Measurement Systems 1. Nonrecording Gages 5. Selection Considerations 4. Introduction 2. Weir Submergence 16. Datum of Gage 3. Weathered and Worn Equipment 10. Background 2. Setting the Datum 9.Weirs 1. and Care of Water-Stage Recorders 10. Conditions Needed for All Types of Sharp-Crested Weirs 6. General Requirements 2. Measurement Method 4.

Advantages and Disadvantages 3. Excess Velocity of Approach 11. Precomputed Design and Selection Tables for Long-Throated Flumes 10.Current Meters 1. Classes of Current Meters 3. Bibliography Chapter 8 . Bibliography Chapter 10 . Submergence 5. Long-Throated Measurement Flumes 9. Conditions for Accuracy of Fully Contracted Submerged Rectangular Orifices 5. Definition and Classification of Orifices 2. General Procedures and Precautions 11. Dimensions for Fully Contracted Submerged Rectangular Orifices 7. Wading Rods 9. Site Characteristics Related to Locating. and Setting Flumes 6. Requirements for Suppressed Submerged Rectangular Orifices 10. Head Measurements 8. Bibliography Chapter 9 . Computing Discharge 14. Care of Weirs 19. Flume Classes 3. Subclasses of Anemometer-Propeller Current Meters 8.Flumes 1. Simple Average Method 5 . Parshall Flumes Additional Information: Computing Submerged Flow Corrections 11. Use of Current-Meter Gaging Stations 4. Introduction 2. General 2. Care of Propeller Meters 10. Methods of Determining Mean Velocities 13.Submerged Orifices 1. Method of Measurement 12. Radial Gate Checks Used for Measuring Devices 14. Selecting.18. Types of Current-Meter Measurements 6. Discharge Adjustment for Contraction Suppression in Submerged Orifices 9. Meter Gates 15. Construction and Setting of Standard Fully Contracted Submerged Orifices 8. Fully Contracted Submerged Orifice 4. Constant-Head Orifice (CHO) Turnout 12. Discharge Through a Submerged Rectangular Orifice 6. Current-Meter Stations and Handling Equipment 7. Location of Current-Meter Stations 5. Orifice Check Structures 13. Workmanship 7. Other Special Flumes 4.

Theory 3. Measuring Controls for Canals 5. Computations of Discharges 20. Discharge Equations for Tracer Methods 5. Deflection Meters 4. General Methods of Application 4. Available Technology 4.Special Measurement Methods in Open Channels 1. Introduction 2. Accounting of Inflow and Outflow From Reservoir Storage 9. Flowmeter Selection Guidelines 7. Daily and Monthly Discharges 22. Calibration of Gates and Sluices 6. Midsection Method 16. Measurement by Floats 11.Discharge Measurements Using Tracers 1. Bibliography Chapter 11 . Weir Sticks 10. Common Sources of Errors 6. Simpson's Parabolic Rule 17. Rating Table 21. Bibliography Additional Information: ADFM Velocity Profiler Chapter 12 . Kinds of Tracers Used 3. Measuring Discharges From Pipes With Current Meters 23. Gage Readings 19. General 2.Acoustic Flow Measurement 1. Slope-Area Method 7. Transit-Time Acoustic Flowmeters 2.15. System Errors 5. Tracer-Velocity-Area Methods 7.Measurements in Pressure Conduits 6 . The Pitot Tube 8. Bibliography Chapter 13 . Open Flow Propeller Meters 3. Installation Considerations 6. Open Channel Acoustic Flowmeters 8. Canal Discharge Curves 18. Doppler-Type Acoustic Flowmeter 9. Cross-Correlation Ultrasonic Meter 10. Tracer-Dilution Methods 8. Bibliography Chapter 14 .

The Pressure-Time Method 16. Trajectory Methods 14. is reliable and accurate water measurement. Pitot Tube Velocity Measurements 11. Point Velocity Area Methods 12. while respecting the environment by sustaining or restoring the aquatic ecosystems which may be affected.1. The term "water measurement" as used in this manual refers to the measurement of flow (unit volume per unit time). Gates. and Valves 17. Vortex Flowmeter 10. California Pipe Method 13. Introduction 2. Bypass Meters 6.Changes since initial printing of the 3rd edition in 1997. and new changes since the 2001 REVISED REPRINT PREFACE The mission of many public and private water resources organizations is to manage and conserve existing water supplies. Variable-Area Meters 9. including water conservation.Rating tables for common devices List of Tables . Deflection Meters 8. Bibliography Additional Information: Elbow Meters Nomenclature Conversion factors Index by Subject Appendix . Pumps. Magnetic Flowmeters 7. These management efforts involve making sound technical and economic decisions concerning new and existing water needs.000 copies and was compiled from the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) publication Manual for 7 .Rating Tables . Major advances in measurement technology along with a continued demand for the Water Measurement Manual are responsible for initiating this revision. One key to better management practices. The first edition of the Water Measurement Manual (1953) had a distribution of 11. Propeller Meters 5.(tables in the main text) List of Figures Errata . Calibration of Turbines. General Comments on Pipeline Flowmeters 3. Acoustic Flowmeters 18. Differential Head Flowmeters 4. Small Tubes or Siphons 15.

S. Natural Resources Conservation Service. long-throated flumes. this third edition was prepared to supplement and update information contained in the second edition.S. and head losses. for contribution of material and reviews by Leland Hardy and Thomas Spofford. Thus. Tony 8 . and other devices. Brent Mefford wrote much of the chapter on selection of water measurement devices. Reclamation is also indebted to the U. Warren Frizell revised the chapter on measuring and recording water stage or head and conducted a peer review of the manual. formerly the Soil Conservation Service. have resulted in increased emphasis on using custom-fitted. overshot weirs. Reclamation especially appreciates the efforts of John Replogle and Albert Clemmens (from the U. Tracy Vermeyen wrote the chapter on acoustic flow measurements. fewer short-form flumes are being considered for new installations. In addition to personnel from outside organizations. Modern trends of technical practice. long-throated measurement structures that can be designed to measure flow and are simpler to fabricate. two revised reprints plus five reprints of the second edition were published. The continual demand for the Water Measurement Manual and the need for updating resulted in the second edition (1967). The demand and need for the second edition has continued because of conservation pressure and increased user competition for water. therefore. From 1967 to 1984. The new chapters added are:       Basic Concepts Related to Flowing Water and Measurement Selection of Water Measuring Devices Measurement Accuracy Inspection of Water Measurement Systems Acoustic Flow Measurement Discharge Measurement Using Tracers Russ Dodge was the primary author/editor for the revisions in this third edition. New chapters and sections were added to make the third edition more current technologically and more useful to other government organizations. Dave Rogers wrote the section on radial gate flow measurements and the use of the RADGAT computer program. information on Parshall flumes has been reduced and incorporated in the more general "Flumes" chapter. as well as for reviewing revisions of the entire manual. Where Parshall flumes may be desired or required by State law.Measurement of Irrigation Water (1946). Consequently. The sections on size selection and setting crest elevation for Parshall flumes have been deleted or reduced in this edition. The main Parshall flume information retained in this edition relates to maintenance and operation needs of existing flumes. along with the developments in personal computers. free flow measurement. several Reclamation personnel contributed to revisions of new sections and chapters. which recommends longthroated flumes for new installation in preference to Parshall flumes. including flume dimensions. examples in the previous editions of the manual can be referred to for size selection and setting the crest elevation. This previous manual had five earlier editions beginning in 1913 and extending to 1940. Water Conservation Laboratory) of the Agricultural Research Service for writing major portions of chapters or separate sections relating to selection of devices. submerged flow measurement.

many benefits are derived by upgrading water measurement programs and systems. reviews. Within the United States. Beyond the district or supply delivery point. water often can be less expensively provided by conservation and equitable distribution of existing water supplies. The key to conservation is good water measurement practices. Certain trade names appear in the manual. municipal. CHAPTER 1 . Better measurement procedures extend the use of water because poor operation and deterioration usually result in the delivery of excess water to users or lose it through waste. irrigation.INTRODUCTION 1. population density. Jim Higgs created the online version of the manual. Some benefits of water measurement are:   Accurate accounting and good records help allocate equitable shares of water between competitive uses both on and off the farm. and impact on ecological systems and endangered species. Every cubic foot of water recovered as a result of improving water measurement produces more revenue than the same amount obtained from a new source. attention to measurement. and Teri Manross did the desktop publishing and copy editing. Agricultural Research Service. industrial. aesthetic. resulting in fewer problems and easier operation. recreation. Good water management requires accurate water measurement. Cliff Pugh coordinated the assembly. critical examinations of water use will be based on consumption. Tom Hovland was the primary technical editor in charge of publication editing and organization. Benefits of Better Water Measurement Besides proper billing for water usage. Best management measures and practices without exception depend upon conservation of water. Good water measurement practices facilitate accurate and equitable distribution of water within district or farm. and fish and wildlife uses. 2. As district needs for water increase. and publication. or Natural Resource Conservation Service. 9 . and maintenance will also extend the farmer's water use and help prevent reduced yields and other crop damage caused by over-watering. Need Public concepts of how to share and manage the finite supplies of water are changing. Increasing competition exists between power. they should be considered during system design or when planning a water measurement upgrade.Wahl compiled the tables in appendix A. Rather than finding and developing new sources. Although some of the benefits are intangible. perceived waste. Mention of such names should not be construed as an endorsement or recommendation of a product by the Bureau of Reclamation. Water districts will need to seek ways to extend the use of their shares of water by the best available technologies. plans will be formulated to extend the use of water. management. Jerry Fitzwater assembled and modified many of the drawings and figures.

(1991) on flumes. Thus. Permanent water measurement devices can also form the basis for future improvements. the reader should go to references at the end of each chapter. The first is to provide water users and districts guidance in selecting. (1993). Good water measurement and management practice prevents excess runoff and deep percolation. Installing canal flow measuring structures reduces the need for time-consuming current metering. will not match all reader preferences or needs. This publication also contains information concerning developing gaging stations 10 . Also. and maintaining their water measurement devices. The second is to describe the standard methods and devices commonly used to measure irrigation water. managing. Accounting for individual water use combined with pricing policies that penalize excessive use. Bos et al. pollute ground water with chemicals and pesticides. The third is to acquaint irrigation system operators with a variety of other established but less common methods and with new or special techniques.      Accurate water measurement provides the on-farm irrigation decision-maker with the information needed to achieve the best use of the irrigation water applied while typically minimizing negative environmental impacts. which can damage crops. this manual does not attempt to fully cover advanced water measurement technology or theory. Use of the Manual  The order of chapters. and Clemmens et al. Without these structures. better determinations of the cost benefits of proposed canal and ditch improvements are possible. Individual readers have their own needs and can find required subjects and sections in the index and table of contents. and result in project farm drainage flows containing contaminants. current metering is frequently needed after making changes of delivery and to make seasonal corrections for changes of boundary resistance caused by weed growths or changes of sectional shape by bank slumping and sediment deposits. inspecting. 3. These or other standards may be deemed necessary by regulation or management decision. Scope  This revised manual has three principal purposes. Good office references to have on hand are Bos (1989). The U. When advance application approaches are needed. Government (1980) compiled a handbook containing information and references concerning most kinds of devices and techniques for open and closed channel flow. Readers are not expected to read this manual from beginning to end. such as remote flow monitoring and canal operation automation. which thoroughly covers water measurement devices. or even sections within chapters. Instituting accurate and convenient water measurement methods improves the evaluation of seepage losses in unlined channels. which provides software and excellent discussions of long-throated flumes and broad-crested weir computer design and calibration.S. 4. Nor is the manual meant to be a substitute for codes or standards such as International Organization for Standards (ISO) (1975) (1983) (1991) or American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) (1992).

International Organization for Standardization. John Wiley & Sons. 1979) has information on H-flumes. A. 1984. 1993. have indicated a need to explain fundamental concepts of flowing water and its measurement." ISO 1438. 18. Switzerland.J. Switzerland. 1991. "Fluid Meters. International Institute for Land Reclamation and Improvement. ed." prepared cooperatively by U.Using Weirs and Flumes. Research Committee on Fluid Meters. 1980. Geological Survey. American Society of Mechanical Engineers." revision. sixth edition revised. 1989. (ed. and A." Handbook No. J. Their Theory and Application. The Netherlands. Geneva. 15.S. D. The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (1971) and International Organization for Standards (ISO) (1991) provide considerable information on venturi meters and orifices in pipelines and give approach length requirements for various valve and bend combinations upstream from these meters. 1979. and other devices and methods used in agricultural hydrology. Agricultural Handbook 224. 1991. International Organization for Standardization." H. "Liquid Flow Measurement in Open Channels . DC. "Measurement of Liquid Flow in Open Channels. Brakensiek.). International Organization for Standardization. current metering.L. Bos. Washington.R.G. Clemmens.S. Department of Agriculture. 1992. 3rd edition. "Performance Test Codes-Hydraulic Turbines and Turbine Mode of Pump/Turbines. New York. Geneva.G. Colorado.. Field Manual for Research in Agricultural Hydrology. M.G. Rawls (coordinators/editors).with both permanent and shifting controls. "FLUME: Design and Calibration of Long-Throated Measuring Flumes. Bean. The workshops have also demonstrated the need to present concepts in simple 11 . U. Bos. The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Field Manual (Brakensiek et al..J. Publication 20. held each year in Denver. 5." version 3. and W. National Handbook of Recommended Methods of Water-Data Acquisition. Introduction Experiences with the Bureau of Reclamation's Water Management Workshops.0." ISO 5167-1. H. "Measurement of Flow by Means of Pressure Differential Devices. Clemmens.A..S. Performance Test Code Committee No. M. New York. Switzerland. Government agencies. The Netherlands.S. 1975. M. 1983. both manmade and natural. Bos. and J. Discharge Measurement Structures. New York. Government Printing Office. Flow Measuring Flumes for Open Channel Systems.A.. Bibliography           American Society of Mechanical Engineers. 1983. Publication 54 (with software). Washington. 1991.B. CHAPTER 2 . triangular short-crested weirs. International Institute for Land Reclamation and Improvement. DC. Replogle. and American Society of Agricultural Engineers.S.. Wageningen. Osborn. U. U. Replogle. Government Printing Office.BASIC CONCEPTS RELATED TO FLOWING WATER AND MEASUREMENT 1. Geneva.

2. rectangular. More experienced water providers and users can use this chapter as a quick review of hydraulic principles related to water measurement. 1970). Flow occurs in a pipeline when a pressure or head difference exists between ends. bends. Flow measuring devices are commonly classified into those that sense or measure velocity and those that measure pressure or head. many more equations are included to maintain step-by-step development of the new material. with steady uniform flow under free discharge conditions. tables. Thus. Kinds of Flow Flow is classified into open channel flow and closed conduit flow. Because of more recent water measurement developments and the new chapters and sections added to this edition. Readers who have difficulties with algebra or the technical writing level should skim the text to provide exposure to concepts and terminology related to water measurement. In hydraulics. (2) the friction or resistance to flow caused by pipe length. but is usually round. or equations are used to obtain the discharge. Flows in canals or in vented pipelines which are not flowing full are typical examples. King and Brater (1963) have a thorough discussion of general critical depth relations and detailed relationships for most common hydraulic flow section shapes. The head or velocity is measured.terms using step-by-step development (Schuster. in open channels. If flow is occurring in a conduit but does not completely fill it. 12 . Bos (1989) covers the entire field of open channel water measurement devices. or any other shape. Thus. Bean (1971) has full information on fluid meter theory and provides detailed material for determining coefficients for tube-type meters. The rate or discharge that occurs depends mainly upon (1) the amount of pressure or head difference that exists from the inlet to the outlet. a progressive fall or decrease in the water surface elevation always occurs as the flow moves downstream. 3. As a result. the flow is not considered pipe or closed conduit flow. changes in conduit shape and size. and the nature of the fluid flowing. but is classified as open channel flow. The filled conduit may be square. a pipe is any closed conduit that carries water under pressure. and (3) the cross-sectional area of the pipe. operators may wish to further investigate and seek more advanced references in hydraulics and fluid mechanics. Streeter (1951) has a chapter on flow measurement that covers tube-type flow meters. the only force that can cause flow is the force of gravity on the fluid. restrictions. The presence of the free water surface prevents transmission of pressure from one end of the conveyance channel to another as in fully flowing pipelines. Open channel flow conditions occur whenever the flowing stream has a free or unconstrained surface that is open to the atmosphere. Basic Principles of Water Measurement Most devices measure flow indirectly. pipe roughness. this chapter has expanded the previous edition's appendix material into a more complete form. Eventually. and then charts.

on the tap connection area is designated pa. on the wall opening area. a. or pressure.3 feet of water. are: (1) Weirs (2) Flumes (3) Orifices (4) Venturi meters (5) Runup measurement on a flat "weir stick" Head.Some water measuring devices that use measurement of head. For example. written as: (2-1) or: (2-2) Thus. . h. of water in the tube balances the pressure force. h.31. The weight and pressure force are equal. at the wall connection. is the weight. p. divided by unit weight of water. a. to determine discharge. water will rise to a height. head is pressure. or 62. The pressure force. The volume times the unit weight of water. These tubes are called piezometers. p. W. Pressure is often expressed in psi or pounds per square inch (lb/in2). which may be converted to feet of water by multiplying the (lb/in2) value by 2. p. The volume of water in the piezometer tube is designated ha. If an open vertical tube is inserted through and flush with the wall of a pipe under pressure. 30 lb/in2 is produced by 69.4 pounds per cubic foot (lb/ft3). Pressure. Fp. Q. 13 . W. gives the unit pressure on the wall of the pipe in terms of head. or head. until the weight. or depth commonly is used for the open channel devices such as flumes and weirs. ha. Either pressure. h. Fp. and dividing both by the area. is used with tube-type flowmeters such as a venturi. h. is the force per unit area as shown on figure 2-1 that acts in every direction normal to containing or submerged object boundaries. p. h.

L: (2-3) A coefficient. which. is computed from an equation such as the one used for a sharp-crested rectangular weir of length. The coefficient can vary widely in nonstandard installations. when multiplied by (h)1/2. A. Q. This velocity does not need to be directly measured or sensed. but an area can be extracted by rewriting this equation: (2-4) in which: (2-5) In this form. The flow cross-sectional area. C also contains a hidden square root of 2g. is included that accounts for simplifying assumptions and other deficiencies in deriving the equation. 14 .Pressure definition When the head principle is used. Because the weir equation computes velocity from a measuring head. but is well defined for standard installations or is constant over a specified range of discharge. the discharge.Figure 2-1 -. a weir is classified as a head measuring device. C. is the theoretical velocity. does not appear directly in the equation.

Thus. t. in feet per second (ft/s) multiplied by time. called unit weight or specific weight. are: (1) Float and stopwatch (2) Current and propeller meters (3) Vane deflection meters These devices generally do not measure the average velocity. 4. in seconds. More commonly. V. in seconds. resulting in: (2-9) 15 . in feet times area. for an entire flow cross section.Some devices that actually sample or sense velocities. is 62. Discharge or rate of flow has units of volume divided by unit time. in feet that water will travel at a given velocity in a pipe of constant diameter is velocity. in cubic feet per second. v. A. Q. . or: (2-7) The volume. sometimes called the flow rate. v. Vo. is the product. to which the mean velocity applies. Thus. weight of water in the tanks is used by converting the weight of water per unit volume. divide the right and left sides of equation 2-8 by time. Discharge-Area-Velocity Relationships Flow rate or discharge. in cubic feet passing from the upstream to the downstream ends of this distance is the distance. the relationship between sampled velocities. AV. Q. Q. V. Thus: (2-8) To get the time rate of flow or discharge. V. dv. to fill a known volume. discharge can be accurately determined by measuring the time. A. The weight of water per cubic foot. the discharge. must be known as well as the flow section area. and the mean velocity. t. The distance. t. dv. Then. usually measured in cubic feet per second (ft3/s). is the volume of water in cubic feet passing a flow section per unit time.4 lb/ft3 at standard atmospheric conditions. in square feet of the flow section. Vo: (2-6) Water measurement devices can be calibrated using very accurate volumetric tanks and clocks.

known as continuity. Pitot tubes relate velocity head. A. 5. q. Flow Totalization Water is sold and measured in terms of total volume consumed. This principle. in cubic feet per second divided by cross-sectional width. pitot tubes. Chemical analysis or color comparison is used to determine the degree of dilution of the injected or mixed samples. Other Examples of Velocity Flow Measurement Devices Measuring devices not previously mentioned are dilution in the concentration of tracers. To aid irrigation operation and management. similar to radar. On the basis that water is incompressible and none is lost from a flowing system. is LbD. acoustic or magnetic meters. Many flowmeters have built in capability to sum or totalize volume continually. thus. the velocity of sound pulses in the direction of flow is compared to the velocity of sound pulses opposite to the direction of flow to determine the mean velocity and. Lb. In transit time acoustic meters. V2/2g. 16 . With Doppler acoustic meters. discharge. 6. sound pulses are reflected from moving particles within the water mass. In the dilution method. is especially useful in the analysis of tube flow measurement devices such as the venturi meter. where D is the depth of flow. in feet or: (2-10) The area. which are tapered tubes with suspended flow indicators. over some convenient time period.Flow in open channels of rectangular cross section is often expressed in terms of unit discharge. in cubic feet per second per foot of width which is discharge. Thus. The continuity concept is an important extension of equation 2-9. the volume consumed is obtained by taking the difference of two sequential monthly readings. These flow rates are used to set flow and predict the volume of water that will be consumed for intervals of time after flow setting. then as the cross-sectional area changes. say cubic feet. most meters provide instantaneous rate of flow or discharge displayed in units such as cubic feet per second. In the magnetic meter. discharge is calculated by determining the quantity of water necessary to dilute a known quantity of concentrated chemical or dye solution. perhaps for billing each month. and many others that are not commonly used. to discharge. such as salts and dyes. the velocity must adjust itself such that the values of Q or VA are constant: (2-11) where the subscript denotes any number of arbitrarily selected positions along the flowing system. the flowing water acts like a moving electrical conductor passing through a magnetic field to produce a voltage that is proportional to discharge. Q. rotameters.

The maximum jet contraction occurs at a distance of one-half the orifice diameter (d/2) downstream from the sharp edge. Cc. This acceleration caused by gravity is referred to as g. Velocity Head Concept A dropped rock or other object will gain speed rapidly as it falls. If the orifice edges are sharp. This equation assumes that the water is frictionless and is an ideal fluid. the velocity of water leaving an opening under a given head. The cross-sectional area of the jet is about six-tenths of the area of the orifice. Thus. which is equal to 32. After an 8ft drop. continues to contract or curve from the sharp orifice edge. Q. after passing through the orifice.68 ft/s. This gain in speed or acceleration is caused by the force of gravity. If water is stored in a tank and a small opening is made in the tank wall 1 ft below the water surface. resulting in: (2-14) The subscript t denotes theoretical discharge through an orifice. respectively. the jet will appear as shown on figure 2-2. Most of the approaching flow has to curve toward the orifice opening. This velocity has the same magnitude that a freely falling rock attains after falling 1 ft. which is a sharp-edged hole in the side or bottom of a container of water (figure 2-2a).04 ft/s. To find the velocity of flow in the orifice. to produce the actual discharge of water being delivered. Thus.04 and 22. Measurements show that an object dropping 1 foot (ft) will reach a velocity of 8. the actual discharge equation is written as: 17 . Thus. the velocity attained is 22. The equation that shows how velocity changes with h and defines velocity head is: (2-12) which may also be written in velocity head form as: (2-13) 8. Similarly.02 ft/s. An object dropping 4 ft will reach a velocity of 16. Orifice Relationships Equations 2-9 and 2-13 can be used to develop a equation for flow through an orifice. the velocity of the spouting water will be 16.7.2 feet per second per second (ft/s2). or discharge. A correction must be made because water is not an ideal fluid. The water. is the same as the velocity that would be attained by a body falling that same distance. equation 2-14 must be corrected using a contraction coefficient. then multiply by area to get AV. at openings 4 ft and 8 ft below the water surface. the water will spout from the opening with a velocity of 8.02 feet per second (ft/s).70 ft/s. use equation 2-13. h.

61.(2-15) For a sharp-edged rectangular slot orifice where full contraction occurs. and the equation becomes: (2-16) A nonstandard installation will require further calibration tests to establish the proper contraction coefficient because the coefficient actually varies with the proximity to the orifice edge with respect to the approach and exit boundaries and approach velocity. 9. Figure 2-2a -. The resulting rectangular weir equation for theoretical discharge is: (2-17) 18 .Orifice flow. 1989). Each strip is considered an orifice with a different head on it. the contraction coefficient is about 0. Figure 2-2b -.Contraction at an orifice. Thin Plate Weir Relationships Most investigators derive the equation for sharp-crested rectangular weirs by mathematical integration of elemental orifice strips over the nappe (Bos.

V2/2g. Cd. in feet. For standard weirs. Figure 2-3a -. The head. Energy measured in this form has units of feet of water. in feet. h. is added to obtain actual discharge. This summation of energy is shown for three cases on figure 2-3. h. caused by elevation referenced to an arbitrary datum selected as reference zero elevation. 10. which has units of feet. Energy Balance Flow Relationships Hydraulic problems concerning fluid flow are generally handled by accounting in terms of energy per pound of flowing water. Z. plus the pressure energy head. plus the potential energy head. expressed as: (2-18) This relationship is the basic weir equation and can be modified to account for weir blade shape and approach velocity.A correction factor is needed to account for simplifications and assumptions.Energy balance in pipe flow. Cd must be determined by analysis and calibration tests. The total amount of energy is that caused by motion. Cd is well defined or constant for measuring within specified head ranges. Thus. However. or velocity head. is depth of flow for the open channel flow case and p/ defined by equation 2-2 for the closed conduit case. a discharge coefficient. 19 .

Figure 2-3c -.Figure 2-3b -. Figures 2-3a and 2-3b show the total energy head. for example. in a pipe and an open channel.Energy balance in open channel flow. so the downstream point 2 has less energy than point 1. The energy balance is retained by adding a head loss. H1. The total energy balance is written as: 20 . at point 1. which can be written as: (2-19) At another downstream location. hf(1-2). point 2: (2-20) Energy has been lost because of friction between points 1 and 2.Specific energy balance.

If the size of the pipeline decreases from the first point to the second. when the flow area decreases. h must decrease proportionately because the total energy from one point to another in the system remains constant. and velocity head only. The second interesting point is that when the velocity increases in the smaller section of the pipeline. Z drops out. This simplified form of energy equation is written as: (2-22) Equations 2-21 and 2-11 lead to several interesting conclusions. Thus. The fact that the pressure does decrease when the velocity in a given system increases is the basis for tubetype flow measuring devices. Energy above the invert expressed this way is called specific energy. In a fairly short pipe that has little or insignificant friction loss. In open channel flow where the flow accelerates. egl. or the height to which water would rise in piezometer taps for pipe flow. An example of decelerating flow with a rising water surface is found at the outlet of an inverted siphon. the flow velocity must increase. but equation 221 shows that when V2/2g increases. On the other hand. which is also the water surface for open channel flow. through a contracting transition. The drop in the water surface is called drawdown. total energy at one point is essentially equal to the total energy at another point. the pressure head. This increase occurs because with steady flow. the quantity of flow passing any point in the completely filled pipeline remains the same. At first. From the continuity equation (equation 2-11).(2-21) The upper sloping line drawn between the total head elevations is the energy gradeline. hgl. Another example occurs at the entrance to inverted siphons or conduits where the flow accelerates as it passes from the canal. neglecting friction loss. The next lower sloping solid line for both the pipe and open channel cases shown on figure 2-3 is the hydraulic grade line. and energy is the sum of depth. An example of accelerating flow with corresponding decreasing depth is found at the approach to weirs. and into the siphon barrel. and depth must decrease. more of its supply of energy becomes velocity head. h. h. the velocity of flow must increase from the first point to the second. E. the depth must increase. when the flow slows down. this decrease may seem strange. 21 . where the water loses velocity as it expands in a transition back into canal flow. A special energy form is commonly used in hydraulics in which the channel invert is selected as the reference Z elevation (figure 2-3c). decreases.

wetted perimeter times the hydraulic radius is equal to the area of irregular section flow as shown on figures 2-4a and 2-4c. Pw. which is shown on figure 2-4 and is written as: (2-23) Thus. Hydraulic radius. it accelerates in a converging section. When water enters a flume. the perimeter is important.Flumes are excellent examples of measuring devices that take advantage of the fact that changes in depth occur with changes in velocity. Rh. In terms of frictional head losses. Hydraulic Mean Depth and Hydraulic Radius Figure 2-4 shows an irregular flow cross section with different methods for defining depth of flow. 22 . This change in depth is directly related to the rate of flow. is defined as the area of the flow section divided by the wetted perimeter. The acceleration of the flow causes the water surface to drop a significant amount. 11.

When this condition is attained. A. The length ratio is set and the scale ratios for velocity and discharge are determined from the equality. hm. For use in Froude number and energy relationships in open channel flow hydraulics. downstream wave or pressure disturbances cannot travel upstream.Definitions of hydraulic radius and hydraulic mean depth (area is the same for all three cases). Critical Flow Relationships In open channel hydraulics. is the ratio of inertia force to gravity force. the Froude number is a very important nondimensional parameter. the velocity is equal to the velocity of wave propagation. For open channel modeling.Figure 2-4 -. T. Open channel flow water measurement generally requires that the Froude number. does not equal depth. is: (2-24) In rectangular channels. of the approach flow be less than 0. hm. When the Froude number is 1. The equation for hydraulic mean depth. A Froude number of 1 also defines a very special hydraulic condition. hm. However. is defined as the depth which. Froude Number. 12. the modeler must make sure that differences in friction loss between the model and the actual device are insignificant or accounted for in some way. the hydraulic mean depth. The Froude number. when multiplied by the top water surface width. is the same as the depth of the rectangular flow section. This flow condition is called critical and defines the critical mean depth and critical velocity relationship as: 23 . . mean depth.5 to prevent wave action that would hinder or possibly prevent an accurate head reading. but approaches depth as the channel becomes very wide. shown on figures 2-4a and 2-4b. the Froude number of a model is made equal to the Froude number of the actual full size device. hydraulic radius. Rh. which simplifies to: (2-25) where the subscript m denotes hydraulic mean depth as defined previously in section 11 of this chapter. or celerity. However. is equal to the irregular section area. . of the flow section and is commonly used for critical flow relationships.

if the downstream depth submerges critical depth. The critical hydraulic mean depth. accumulated sediment deposits. However. is the depth at which total specific energy is minimum for a given discharge. then discharge can be measured using one head measurement station upstream. Designing flumes for submerged flow will always decrease accuracy of flow measurement. when the depth is less than critical. the flow is rapid or shooting and is called super-critical velocity. one unique head value exists for each discharge. structural settling. the resulting velocity is considered streaming or tranquil and is called subcritical velocity. or weed growths. hcm.tion 226 and rewriting in the form: (2-27) Solving for head in equation 2-27 results in: (2-28) Dividing both sides of this equation by 2 gives critical velocity head in terms of critical mean depth written as: (2-29) The total energy head with Z equal to zero for critical flow using equation 2-19 is: 24 . construction errors.(2-26) The subscript c denotes critical flow condition. Water measurement flumes function best by forcing flow to pass through critical depth. Flumes and weirs can be submerged unintentionally by poor design. attempts to supply increased delivery needs by increasing downstream heads. simplifying calibration. and two head measurements are needed to measure flow. Important critical flow relationships can be derived using equa. Also. This flow condition is called free flow. hcm is the depth at which the discharge is maximum for a given total specific energy. then separate calibrations at many levels of submergence are required. Conversely. for weirs and flumes. When depth is greater than critical. Conversely.

equation 2-30 can be rewritten as: (2-32) or: (2-33) Conversely: (2-34) Multiplying both sides of equation 2-27 by the area. q. Discharge Equation for Broad-Crested Rectangular Weirs The discharge equation for the rectangular broad-crested weir will now be derived similar to Bos (1989). this equation is divided by the width of flow. of a rectangular flow section is the same as T. 13. Lb. Ac. hc is the same as hcm. Lb. the top water surface width. of the flow section. results in discharge expressed as: (2-35) To get unit discharge. Also. and using equation 2-29 for velocity head. The width. resulting in: 25 .(2-30) Squaring both sides of equation 2-27 and replacing velocity with Q/A and hcm with A/T according to equation 2-24 and rearranging results in: (2-31) This equation and the specific energy equation 2-22 are the basic critical flow relationships for any channel shape. which is Lbhc.

a velocity coefficient. and nonuniform velocity distribution occur. Thus. resulting in an expression for actual discharge: (2-39) For measurement convenience. Hc. resulting in: (2-40) This equation applies to both long-throated flumes or broad-crested weirs and can be modified for any shape by analyses using the energy balance with equation 2-31. H1. at a head measuring station a short distance upstream. However. Qt: (2-38) Discharges in equations 2-35 through 2-38 are usually considered actual. assuming uniform velocity throughout the critical depth cross section and assuming that no correction of velocity distribution is needed. some friction loss. h1. These equations differ only in numerical constants that are derived from assumptions and selection of basic relationships used in their derivation.(2-36) Solving for hc: (2-37) Using equation 2-34 to replace hc with Hc in equation 2-35 results in theoretical discharge. the total head. Cv. possible flow curvature. experimental determination of 26 . However. H1. specific energy. at the critical location can be replaced with specific energy. To correct for neglecting the velocity head at the measuring station. is replaced with the depth. a coefficient of Cd must be added to correct for these effects. Because specific energy is constant in a fairly short measuring structure with insignificant friction losses. must be added.

Venturi meter. Either equation could be used. Thus: (2-41) By the continuity equation for the approach and throat sections: (2-42) Either V1 or V2 can be solved for in terms of the other. Application of Energy Principle to Tube-Type Flowmeters The energy equation can be used to derive the venturi meter (figure 2-5) equation by assuming that the centerline of the meter is horizontal (Z1 = Z2). making each equation produce the same discharge for the same measuring head.the coefficient values for C and Cv would compensate. 14. recent development of computer modeling of long-throated flumes (Clemmens et al. there is no head loss. Figure 2-5 -. However. for example: 27 . hf = 0. and due to its short length. the final results will be identical for any orientation of the venturi meter. [1991]) precludes the need for experimental determination of coefficients. The examples given above show that traditional discharge equations are often a mixture of rational analysis and experimental coefficient evaluation. These long-throated flumes are covered in chapter 8. Although these assumptions were made to simplify the derivation.

(2-43) Substituting this result into the energy equation results in: (2-44) Solving for the head difference gives: (2-45) Solving for V12: (2-46) Taking the square root of both sides and multiplying both sides by A1 results in the theoretical discharge equation: (2-47) To obtain actual discharge. a coefficient. Cd. added to compensate for velocity distribution and for minor losses not accounted for in the energy equation yields: (2-48a) Some investigators solve for discharge using throat area and velocity. resulting in: 28 .

the water near the pipe walls is slowed and stopped in the corners formed by the plate and the pipe walls. the meters may serve as reliable flow measuring devices. the pressure difference between the inlet tap and the throat or minimum pressure tap is related to discharge tables or curves using the suitable coefficients with the proper equation. and the velocity is highest at point C. An appreciable drop will be noticed at the narrow throat. equations 2-48a and 2-48b are identical and can be converted to: (2-49) Equations 2-48b and 2-49 also apply to nozzles and orifices in pipes. An example discharge curve is shown for an 8-inch (in) venturi meter on figure 2-7. Thus. hgl. the flow begins to spread out and slow down.(2-48b) However. the hydraulic grade line. In both venturi meters and orifice meters. Figure 2-6 -. represents the pressure that acts on the walls of the venturi meter. and a gradual pressure rise is seen as the flow leaves the throat and smoothly spreads and slows in the expanding portion of the meter. Figure 2-6 shows the conditions that occur in a pipe orifice meter. As a result. Farther down-stream. 29 . As the flow accelerates and passes through the orifice.Pipe orifice meter. the pressure just ahead of the orifice at point B is a little greater than in the pipeline farther upstream at A. On figure 2-5. As the flow approaches the orifice plate. the pressure drops and is lowest just downstream from the plate where the jet is smallest. and a rise in pressure occurs at points D and E.

15. H1. Orifices require an area correction to account for jet contraction in an orifice. Ultimately. Ac. Thus.Typical calibration curve for an 8-in venturi meter. the area. A common misconception is that coefficients are constant. the contracted area of flow.Figure 2-7 -. Thus. of the orifice must be corrected by a coefficient of contraction defined as: (2-50) Properly designed venturi meters and nozzles have no contraction. the flow is forced to curve around and spring from the sharp edge. should be used in hydraulic relationships. instead of the more complex total head. They may indeed be constant for a range of discharge. Ao. the actual discharge must be measured experimentally by calibration tests. Complying with structural and operational limits for standard devices will prevent measurement error caused by using coefficients outside of the proper 30 . forming a contracted jet or vena contracta. and the theoretical discharge must be corrected. which makes Cc unity because of the smooth transitions that allow the water to flow parallel to the meter boundary surfaces. h1. Cv is used because velocity head is often ignored in equations. Equation Coefficients The previous examples show that coefficients are used in water measurement to correct for factors which are not fully accounted for using simplifying assumptions during derivations of equations. For the convenience of using a measured water head. which is the case for many standard measuring devices.

Often.80 and varies with the diameter ratio. is the same as the invert or bottom slope. Some water measuring devices cover wider ranges using variable coefficients of discharge by means of plots and tables of values with respect to head and geometry parameters. When normal flow is approached. Therefore. Therefore. Chezy developed the earliest velocity equation. normal flow equations are often used to predict flow depths. For flow nozzles in pipelines.ranges. Manning. The coefficient of discharge for orifices in pipes varies from 0. Good operation and flow depth forecasts are needed to ensure the design effectiveness of new irrigation measurement systems. divided by its wetted perimeter. and submerged orifices can have too little downstream water above the top orifice edge. composite numerical coefficients are given that are product combinations of area or a dimension factored from the area. geometry dimensions and physical constants.9 to about unity in the turbulent flow range and varies with the diameter ratio of throat to pipe. Designing for the insertion of a new device into an existing system provides a good opportunity to obtain actual field measurements for investigating possible submergence problems. 16. expressed as: 31 . and DarcyWeisbach are used to compute depth of flow. which is the crosssectional area. reliable knowledge of exit depth conditions is needed to properly set the elevation of crests and orifices so as to not compromise accuracy. Equation 2-49 also applies to orifices and nozzles. Coefficients also vary with measuring station head or pressure tap location. and depth must be determined on the basis of the definition of Rh. In the absence of actual measurements. converting equations from English to metric units is more difficult. such as flumes. integration constants.96 to 1. users should make sure that the coefficients used match pressure or head measurement locations. the coefficient varies from 0. are sensitive to exit flow conditions. coefficients. Flumes and weirs can be drowned out by too much downstream submergence depth. The use of actual discharge water surface measurements is recommended. weirs.60 to 0. Otherwise. such as acceleration of gravity. Normal flow occurs when the water surface slope. ASME (1983) and ISO (1991) have a detailed treatment of pipeline meter theory. are better kept separate from the nondimensional coefficients that account for the difference between theoretical and actual conditions. and submerged orifices. acceleration of gravity. However. However. and instruction in their use. Rh. the velocity equations of Chezy. The coefficient of discharge for venturi meters ranges from 0. these equations are in terms of hydraulic radius.2 for turbulent flow and varies with the diameter ratio. Inaccurate assessment of downstream depth has even made some measuring device installations useless. Sws. Pw. A. Normal Flow Equations and Friction Head Loss Many measuring devices. Water measurement equations generally require use of some to all of these coefficients to produce accurate results. and the correction coefficients. So.

These plots are generally in terms of pipe diameter.(2-51) Manning's equation is more frequently used and is expressed as: (2-52) The Darcy-Weisbach equation is a more rigorous relationship. n. Rouse (1950). and Chow (1959). which should be replaced with 4Rh for open channel flow. they do not accurately apply to shallow flow. written as: (2-53) The coefficients C. and relative roughness. C. k/4Rh. Streeter (1951). written as: (2-54) Solving for velocity using equation 2-54 and multiplying by area produces a discharge equation and can be used in the slope area method of determining discharge as discussed in chapter 13. The Reynolds number accounts for variation of viscosity. and f. 4RhV/L. The value of k for concrete varies from 0. Manning's friction factor. n. and physical boundary roughness. varies with hydraulic radius. D. in which L is kinematic viscosity. All three of these friction factors have been determined empirically. This function is given in the form of plots in any fluid mechanics textbook. The Chezy factor varies from 22 to 220. for example. Values of k can be found in hydraulic and fluid mechanics textbooks such as Streeter (1951).02 for fine earth lined channels to 0. Solving equations 2-51.011 to 0. varies from 0. nor can 32 . slope. The Darcy-Weisbach friction factor. The Chezy factor. the n value can be as much as 0. Values of k have been determined empirically and are constant for a given flow boundary material as long as the roughness can be considered a homogenous texture rather than large roughness elements relative to the depth. and Chow (1959). n. Rouse (1950). The n values for concrete vary from 0. Because Chezy and Manning equations and their friction factors have been determined for ordinary channel flows.016 as finish gets rougher. If the channel beds are strewn with rocks or are 1/3 full of vegetation. and k is a linear measure of boundary roughness size.01 to 0.035 for gravel.0001 ft depending on condition and quality of finishing. f. computed from measurement of equation variables.06. and 2-53 for V/(RhS)1/2 results in a combined flow equation and relationship between the three friction factors. 2-52. and f are friction factors. C. is nondimensional and is a function of Reynolds number.

Approach flow conditions should be continually checked for deviation from these conditions as described in chapter 8 of this manual. If the control width is less than 50 percent of the approach width. 33 . and waves. For gradually varied flow. the flow conditions just downstream need to be carefully assessed or specified in terms of required downstream operations and limits of measuring devices.000. 30 measuring heads of straight. the friction equations can be used as trial and error computations applied to average end section hydraulic variables for relatively short reach lengths. and free of curves. open channel flow would require 40 hydraulic radii of straight. then 10 average approach flow widths of straight. Values of k are constant for given material surfaces for k/4Rh equal or less than 1/10 and when 4RhV/ is greater than 200. unobstructed approach are required. Approach Flow Conditions Water measurement devices are generally calibrated with certain approach flow conditions. a jump should be forced to occur. located upstream from a flowmeter can increase the number of required approach diameters. By analogy and using a minimum of 10 pipe diameters of straight approach. Fluid Meters (American Society of Mechanical Engineers. A typical example approach criteria as specified by Bos (1989) follows:     If the control width is greater than 50 percent of the approach channel width. In general. mild in slope. Therefore. Pipeline meters commonly require 10 diameters of straight pipe approach. in designing and setting the elevation of flumes and weirs. unobstructed.these two equations be corrected for temperature viscosity effects. projections. The flow should be fully developed. unobstructed approach after the jump should be provided. 1983) and International Organization for Standardization (1991) give requirements for many pipeline configurations. If baffles are used to correct and smooth out approach flow. unaltered approach. then 10 measuring heads (10h1) should be placed between the baffles and the measuring station. Fittings and combinations of fittings. 17. More advanced hydraulic analyses are needed where normal flow is not established. unobstructed approach are required. The design and setting of crest elevations in an existing system permit the establishment of operation needs and downstream depths by actual field measurement. such as valves and bends. then 20 control widths of straight. In this case. the approaching flow should be subcritical. If upstream flow is below critical depth. The same approach conditions must be attained in field applications of measuring devices. Flow depths downstream are more likely the result of intentional structural restriction or water delivery head requirements downstream. Poor flow conditions in the area just upstream from the measuring device can cause large discharge indication errors.

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