United States Department of the Interior Bureau of Reclamation

WATER MEASUREMENT MANUAL
A WATER RESOURCES TECHNICAL PUBLICATION
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

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FIRST EDITION 1953 SECOND EDITION 1967 REPRINTED 1967, 1971 REVISED REPRINT 1974 REPRINTED 1975, 1977, 1981 REVISED REPRINT 1984 REPRINTED 1993 THIRD EDITION 1997 REVISED REPRINT 2001

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.

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

Discharge Through a Submerged Rectangular Orifice 6. Use of Current-Meter Gaging Stations 4. Current-Meter Stations and Handling Equipment 7. Computing Discharge 14. Bibliography Chapter 8 . Orifice Check Structures 13. Methods of Determining Mean Velocities 13. Method of Measurement 12. Constant-Head Orifice (CHO) Turnout 12. Care of Weirs 19. Meter Gates 15. Advantages and Disadvantages 3. Classes of Current Meters 3. General Procedures and Precautions 11. Bibliography Chapter 9 .Flumes 1. Bibliography Chapter 10 . Requirements for Suppressed Submerged Rectangular Orifices 10. Care of Propeller Meters 10. and Setting Flumes 6. General 2. Subclasses of Anemometer-Propeller Current Meters 8. Introduction 2. Flume Classes 3. Fully Contracted Submerged Orifice 4. Submergence 5.18. Conditions for Accuracy of Fully Contracted Submerged Rectangular Orifices 5.Current Meters 1. Types of Current-Meter Measurements 6. Discharge Adjustment for Contraction Suppression in Submerged Orifices 9. Location of Current-Meter Stations 5. Workmanship 7. Site Characteristics Related to Locating. Definition and Classification of Orifices 2. Precomputed Design and Selection Tables for Long-Throated Flumes 10. Simple Average Method 5 . Head Measurements 8. Parshall Flumes Additional Information: Computing Submerged Flow Corrections 11. Construction and Setting of Standard Fully Contracted Submerged Orifices 8. Excess Velocity of Approach 11.Submerged Orifices 1. Dimensions for Fully Contracted Submerged Rectangular Orifices 7. Radial Gate Checks Used for Measuring Devices 14. Wading Rods 9. Long-Throated Measurement Flumes 9. Selecting. Other Special Flumes 4.

Theory 3. Available Technology 4.15. Rating Table 21. Daily and Monthly Discharges 22. Simpson's Parabolic Rule 17. Cross-Correlation Ultrasonic Meter 10. Tracer-Dilution Methods 8. Measuring Discharges From Pipes With Current Meters 23. Doppler-Type Acoustic Flowmeter 9. Deflection Meters 4. Bibliography Chapter 11 . Midsection Method 16. Computations of Discharges 20. Slope-Area Method 7. Installation Considerations 6. Measurement by Floats 11. Gage Readings 19. Bibliography Chapter 14 . General Methods of Application 4. Bibliography Additional Information: ADFM Velocity Profiler Chapter 12 . Discharge Equations for Tracer Methods 5. Open Channel Acoustic Flowmeters 8.Measurements in Pressure Conduits 6 . Transit-Time Acoustic Flowmeters 2.Acoustic Flow Measurement 1. Kinds of Tracers Used 3. Weir Sticks 10. Measuring Controls for Canals 5. General 2. The Pitot Tube 8. Introduction 2. Common Sources of Errors 6. Flowmeter Selection Guidelines 7.Special Measurement Methods in Open Channels 1. Calibration of Gates and Sluices 6. Tracer-Velocity-Area Methods 7. Bibliography Chapter 13 .Discharge Measurements Using Tracers 1. Accounting of Inflow and Outflow From Reservoir Storage 9. Open Flow Propeller Meters 3. Canal Discharge Curves 18. System Errors 5.

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

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

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

Thus. Good water measurement and management practice prevents excess runoff and deep percolation. this manual does not attempt to fully cover advanced water measurement technology or theory. such as remote flow monitoring and canal operation automation. Permanent water measurement devices can also form the basis for future improvements. and result in project farm drainage flows containing contaminants. which can damage crops. the reader should go to references at the end of each chapter. The U. will not match all reader preferences or needs. Instituting accurate and convenient water measurement methods improves the evaluation of seepage losses in unlined channels.S. managing. and maintaining their water measurement devices. (1993). The third is to acquaint irrigation system operators with a variety of other established but less common methods and with new or special techniques. or even sections within chapters. Readers are not expected to read this manual from beginning to end. which provides software and excellent discussions of long-throated flumes and broad-crested weir computer design and calibration. 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). Use of the Manual  The order of chapters. 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. Scope  This revised manual has three principal purposes. Without these structures. 3. Accounting for individual water use combined with pricing policies that penalize excessive use. (1991) on flumes. When advance application approaches are needed. and Clemmens et al. These or other standards may be deemed necessary by regulation or management decision. This publication also contains information concerning developing gaging stations 10 .      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. Government (1980) compiled a handbook containing information and references concerning most kinds of devices and techniques for open and closed channel flow. Also. which thoroughly covers water measurement devices. 4. The first is to provide water users and districts guidance in selecting. Individual readers have their own needs and can find required subjects and sections in the index and table of contents. better determinations of the cost benefits of proposed canal and ditch improvements are possible. Installing canal flow measuring structures reduces the need for time-consuming current metering. Good office references to have on hand are Bos (1989). inspecting. Bos et al. The second is to describe the standard methods and devices commonly used to measure irrigation water. pollute ground water with chemicals and pesticides.

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

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

of water in the tube balances the pressure force. is the force per unit area as shown on figure 2-1 that acts in every direction normal to containing or submerged object boundaries. is the weight. p. at the wall connection. written as: (2-1) or: (2-2) Thus. p. The volume of water in the piezometer tube is designated ha. Pressure is often expressed in psi or pounds per square inch (lb/in2). are: (1) Weirs (2) Flumes (3) Orifices (4) Venturi meters (5) Runup measurement on a flat "weir stick" Head.4 pounds per cubic foot (lb/ft3). or head. on the wall opening area. or pressure. h. Fp. until the weight. Q. a. divided by unit weight of water. p. . These tubes are called piezometers. The volume times the unit weight of water. h. 13 . p. is used with tube-type flowmeters such as a venturi. which may be converted to feet of water by multiplying the (lb/in2) value by 2.31. The pressure force. on the tap connection area is designated pa. ha. 30 lb/in2 is produced by 69. to determine discharge. gives the unit pressure on the wall of the pipe in terms of head. and dividing both by the area. Either pressure. or depth commonly is used for the open channel devices such as flumes and weirs. water will rise to a height.Some water measuring devices that use measurement of head. h. The weight and pressure force are equal. W. or 62. For example.3 feet of water. W. h. a. Pressure. h. head is pressure. If an open vertical tube is inserted through and flush with the wall of a pipe under pressure. Fp.

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

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

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

the water will spout from the opening with a velocity of 8. the velocity of the spouting water will be 16. at openings 4 ft and 8 ft below the water surface.02 feet per second (ft/s). then multiply by area to get AV. This velocity has the same magnitude that a freely falling rock attains after falling 1 ft. the actual discharge equation is written as: 17 . Thus. Cc. after passing through the orifice. Thus. Q. 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. or discharge. continues to contract or curve from the sharp orifice edge. This equation assumes that the water is frictionless and is an ideal fluid. use equation 2-13. To find the velocity of flow in the orifice. to produce the actual discharge of water being delivered. This gain in speed or acceleration is caused by the force of gravity. which is a sharp-edged hole in the side or bottom of a container of water (figure 2-2a). Measurements show that an object dropping 1 foot (ft) will reach a velocity of 8.2 feet per second per second (ft/s2). equation 2-14 must be corrected using a contraction coefficient. After an 8ft drop.7. Most of the approaching flow has to curve toward the orifice opening.04 ft/s. If the orifice edges are sharp. If water is stored in a tank and a small opening is made in the tank wall 1 ft below the water surface.68 ft/s. This acceleration caused by gravity is referred to as g. the velocity attained is 22.02 ft/s. resulting in: (2-14) The subscript t denotes theoretical discharge through an orifice. the jet will appear as shown on figure 2-2. Thus. The water. Velocity Head Concept A dropped rock or other object will gain speed rapidly as it falls.70 ft/s. h. The maximum jet contraction occurs at a distance of one-half the orifice diameter (d/2) downstream from the sharp edge. 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. Similarly. A correction must be made because water is not an ideal fluid. respectively. which is equal to 32. is the same as the velocity that would be attained by a body falling that same distance.04 and 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.

Figure 2-2a -. Figure 2-2b -. 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.(2-15) For a sharp-edged rectangular slot orifice where full contraction occurs. Each strip is considered an orifice with a different head on it. 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.Contraction at an orifice.Orifice flow. the contraction coefficient is about 0. The resulting rectangular weir equation for theoretical discharge is: (2-17) 18 .61. 1989). 9.

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

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

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

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

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

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

hc is the same as hcm. Discharge Equation for Broad-Crested Rectangular Weirs The discharge equation for the rectangular broad-crested weir will now be derived similar to Bos (1989). The width. Lb. Ac.(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. resulting in: 25 . of the flow section. Also. which is Lbhc. the top water surface width. and using equation 2-29 for velocity head. of a rectangular flow section is the same as T. 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. this equation is divided by the width of flow. Lb. 13. q. results in discharge expressed as: (2-35) To get unit discharge.

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

Although these assumptions were made to simplify the derivation. making each equation produce the same discharge for the same measuring head. However. there is no head loss. These long-throated flumes are covered in chapter 8. 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. Either equation could be used. 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).the coefficient values for C and Cv would compensate. Figure 2-5 -. The examples given above show that traditional discharge equations are often a mixture of rational analysis and experimental coefficient evaluation. for example: 27 . the final results will be identical for any orientation of the venturi meter. [1991]) precludes the need for experimental determination of coefficients. recent development of computer modeling of long-throated flumes (Clemmens et al. 14. and due to its short length. hf = 0.Venturi meter.

a coefficient.(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. 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 . Cd.

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. the pressure just ahead of the orifice at point B is a little greater than in the pipeline farther upstream at A. hgl.(2-48b) However. An appreciable drop will be noticed at the narrow throat. 29 . As the flow approaches the orifice plate. An example discharge curve is shown for an 8-inch (in) venturi meter on figure 2-7. Figure 2-6 shows the conditions that occur in a pipe orifice meter. 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. Thus. Figure 2-6 -. 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. As the flow accelerates and passes through the orifice. the pressure drops and is lowest just downstream from the plate where the jet is smallest. the water near the pipe walls is slowed and stopped in the corners formed by the plate and the pipe walls. On figure 2-5. the meters may serve as reliable flow measuring devices. the flow begins to spread out and slow down. and a rise in pressure occurs at points D and E. the hydraulic grade line. Farther down-stream.Pipe orifice meter. As a result. and the velocity is highest at point C. In both venturi meters and orifice meters. represents the pressure that acts on the walls of the venturi meter.

Ao. H1. Complying with structural and operational limits for standard devices will prevent measurement error caused by using coefficients outside of the proper 30 . the contracted area of flow. should be used in hydraulic relationships. which is the case for many standard measuring devices. Orifices require an area correction to account for jet contraction in an orifice. forming a contracted jet or vena contracta. For the convenience of using a measured water head. the area. Cv is used because velocity head is often ignored in equations. h1. Thus.Figure 2-7 -. of the orifice must be corrected by a coefficient of contraction defined as: (2-50) Properly designed venturi meters and nozzles have no contraction.Typical calibration curve for an 8-in venturi meter. which makes Cc unity because of the smooth transitions that allow the water to flow parallel to the meter boundary surfaces. the flow is forced to curve around and spring from the sharp edge. Ac. and the theoretical discharge must be corrected. the actual discharge must be measured experimentally by calibration tests. A common misconception is that coefficients are constant. Ultimately. 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. 15. instead of the more complex total head. They may indeed be constant for a range of discharge. Thus.

Chezy developed the earliest velocity equation. However.80 and varies with the diameter ratio. such as flumes. However. and depth must be determined on the basis of the definition of Rh. In the absence of actual measurements. Coefficients also vary with measuring station head or pressure tap location. coefficients. is the same as the invert or bottom slope. such as acceleration of gravity. reliable knowledge of exit depth conditions is needed to properly set the elevation of crests and orifices so as to not compromise accuracy. Therefore. integration constants. A. Equation 2-49 also applies to orifices and nozzles. Good operation and flow depth forecasts are needed to ensure the design effectiveness of new irrigation measurement systems. weirs. The use of actual discharge water surface measurements is recommended. Normal Flow Equations and Friction Head Loss Many measuring devices. 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. users should make sure that the coefficients used match pressure or head measurement locations. When normal flow is approached. and the correction coefficients. these equations are in terms of hydraulic radius. Flumes and weirs can be drowned out by too much downstream submergence depth. The coefficient of discharge for orifices in pipes varies from 0. acceleration of gravity. geometry dimensions and physical constants. the coefficient varies from 0. converting equations from English to metric units is more difficult. Often. The coefficient of discharge for venturi meters ranges from 0.60 to 0.9 to about unity in the turbulent flow range and varies with the diameter ratio of throat to pipe. Manning. are sensitive to exit flow conditions. Therefore. 16. normal flow equations are often used to predict flow depths.ranges. and submerged orifices. composite numerical coefficients are given that are product combinations of area or a dimension factored from the area. are better kept separate from the nondimensional coefficients that account for the difference between theoretical and actual conditions. So. 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. divided by its wetted perimeter. For flow nozzles in pipelines. and instruction in their use. Otherwise. ASME (1983) and ISO (1991) have a detailed treatment of pipeline meter theory. Normal flow occurs when the water surface slope. Inaccurate assessment of downstream depth has even made some measuring device installations useless. Water measurement equations generally require use of some to all of these coefficients to produce accurate results.2 for turbulent flow and varies with the diameter ratio. Sws.96 to 1. which is the crosssectional area. and submerged orifices can have too little downstream water above the top orifice edge. and DarcyWeisbach are used to compute depth of flow. Rh. the velocity equations of Chezy. Pw. expressed as: 31 .

Rouse (1950). These plots are generally in terms of pipe diameter. Streeter (1951). computed from measurement of equation variables. n. Manning's friction factor. If the channel beds are strewn with rocks or are 1/3 full of vegetation. C. slope. The Reynolds number accounts for variation of viscosity. is nondimensional and is a function of Reynolds number. Rouse (1950).(2-51) Manning's equation is more frequently used and is expressed as: (2-52) The Darcy-Weisbach equation is a more rigorous relationship. and physical boundary roughness. f. and relative roughness. Because Chezy and Manning equations and their friction factors have been determined for ordinary channel flows. which should be replaced with 4Rh for open channel flow.011 to 0.06.035 for gravel.0001 ft depending on condition and quality of finishing. and 2-53 for V/(RhS)1/2 results in a combined flow equation and relationship between the three friction factors. written as: (2-53) The coefficients C.016 as finish gets rougher. and f are friction factors. varies from 0. The n values for concrete vary from 0. 4RhV/L. nor can 32 . D. in which L is kinematic viscosity. and Chow (1959). the n value can be as much as 0.01 to 0. C. The Darcy-Weisbach friction factor. 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 f. 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. they do not accurately apply to shallow flow. and k is a linear measure of boundary roughness size. k/4Rh. Values of k can be found in hydraulic and fluid mechanics textbooks such as Streeter (1951). Solving equations 2-51. 2-52. The value of k for concrete varies from 0. n. The Chezy factor. n. varies with hydraulic radius. and Chow (1959). All three of these friction factors have been determined empirically. This function is given in the form of plots in any fluid mechanics textbook. for example. The Chezy factor varies from 22 to 220.02 for fine earth lined channels to 0.

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

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