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Discharge Measurement

Karnakathi cannel,

1. Introduction:
1.1 Description of the study area
2. Methodology
2.1 Stream width measurement
2.2 Stream depth measurement
2.3 Stream velocity measurement
2.4 Stream discharge measurement
3. Results and Discussion
4. Conclusion
1. Introduction:
At September 05, 2016 a field work was held beside University of Barisal at the cannel named
Karnakathi. The aim was to measure the discharge of the cannel. Discharge is the volume of
water that flows through a stream in a given time. The unit of discharge is m3s-1 which usually
used. In hydrology discharge of natural and artificial streams is a key parameter for hydrologic
studies and policy decisions regarding water resources, biological habitat and natural hazards.

Measuring discharge of river is extremely important for predicting floods and flood stages. As
the flow of river changes significantly in a very short amount of time due to plenty of factors, so
it should be monitored regularly. Discharge is important for estimating the water budged of
every year and also river management purpose including water resource planning and pollution

1.1 Description of the study area:

The Karnakathi channel is an open channel or an irrigation canal that situated near the
University of Barisal at Karnakathi on the eastern bank of the Kirtonkhola river in the
district of Barisal. We measured discharge at various point of site and we found a
mathematical result of the amount of water passing a point the stream channel in a given

Figure: Study Area.

Figure: Location map of the study area.

Figure: Location map of the study area.

2. Methodology:
The aim is to measure the discharge of Karnakathi cannel. We are using float method with
respect to area velocity method. Float method is the easiest and inexpensive method. It
determines the approximate stream velocity and discharge can easily compute by area-velocity
method. To compute the discharge, 4 basic steps are crucial-

2.1 Stream width measurement

2.2 Stream depth measurement
2.3 Stream velocity measurement
2.4 Stream discharge measurement

2.1 Stream width measurement:

First of all we divided our site (the cannel) into two sections. Then we measured the width
separately of two sites. To compute width, rope was used which was placed straightly along the
joining of two sides of river. Then the rope was computed with measuring tape.

Figure 2.1: Measuring stream width by rope.

2.3 Stream depth measurement:

We measured depth of two sites separately. We used local instrument ‘Bamboo’ for measuring
water depth. We let the bamboo go under water. After pulling out the bamboo we got water mark
on it and we marked the point which indicates water level, with marker and computed it with
measuring tape. Two bamboos were used for two sites. We take three spots at middle, right and
left and measured the depth and then averaged the value.

Figure 2.2: Stream depth measurement.

2.2 Stream velocity measurement:

The third step was measuring the velocity of the sections. To make the best estimate of a stream's
velocity hydrologists use the average velocity of a stream. There are four types by which velocity
can be measured. They are –

a. Float method
b. Chemical method
c. Current meter
d. Pitot tube method

We had used Float method. We used piece of Shola as float body in each site. In using floats to
observe the stream velocity a large number of easily identifiable floats are released at fairly
uniform spacing on the width of the stream at an upstream section. Two sections on a fairly
straight reach are selected and the time to cross this reach by each float is noted and the surface
velocity calculated. Time was calculated by stop watch.

Figure 2.3: Floating object.

A floating object on the surface of a stream when timed can yield the surface velocity by the
Vs =

Where S= distance travelled in time t. This method of measuring velocities while primitive still
finds applications in special circumstances, such as:

(i) a small stream in flood,

(ii) small stream with a rapidly changing water surface, and
(iii) preliminary or exploratory surveys.

A simple float moving on stream surface is called Surface Float .It is easy to use and the mean
velocity is obtained by multiplying the observed surface velocity by a reduction coefficient as in

Where V is average velocity, Vs surface velocity, and K reduction factor. The value of K is
obtained from observations at lower stages and lie in the range of 0.85 to 0.95.

2.4 Stream discharge measurement:

Stream discharge represents the runoff phase of the hydrologic cycle. Stream discharge can be
measured more accurately than other components of hydrologic cycle such as precipitation,
evaporation, infiltration etc.

Discharge is the volume of water moving down a stream or river per unit of time,
commonly expressed in cubic feet per second or gallons per day. In general, river
discharge is computed by multiplying the area of water in a channel cross section by the average
velocity of the water in that cross section.

In this section methods of measurement of discharge are described. Methods for determining
discharge can be classified as.

i. Area-velocity method (free flow method).

ii. Measurement by permanent structures.
iii. Chemical gauging method

Area velocity method was used. This method of discharge measurement consists essentially of
measuring the area of cross-section of the river at a selected section called the gauging site and
measuring the velocity of flow through the cross-sectional area.
The basic principle is



Q = Discharge

A = Area of cross-section of flow and

V = Mean stream velocity

For measurement of mean velocity of flow and the flow cross-sectional area. The channel is
divided in to sub-sections, the mean velocity and the area of flow is measured at each sub-section
and finally the total discharge is the sum of the discharges through these sub-sections.

Q=q1+q2+q3+………………..+ qn - - - 1

Where Q is total discharge and qi is discharge through a sub-section ‘i’ of stream. As we divided
our site into two section so we got q1 and q2.

So, The discharge of the cannel, =

2.4.1 Calculation:

The basic principle that Q =AV is used in this method. For calculating the discharge we have
to multiple area of cross-section of flow and mean stream velocity.


Q = Discharge

A = Area of cross-section of flow = Depth × Width

V = Mean stream velocity =

Here, =
For q1 we got,

V1= 0.322 ms-1

= 0.322 ms-1 × 0.9 (Calibrating by multiplication with 0.9)

= 0.315 ms-1(After calibration)

So, q1= A1× V1

= 7.14m /s(Calibrated)

Again, for q2 we got,

V2= 0.2956 ms-1

= 0.2956 ms-1× 0.9 (Calibrating by multiplication with 0.9)

= 0.2809ms-1(After calibration)

And, q2 = A2 × V2

= 9.93m3s-1(Calibrated)

So, =
. .
= m3s-1

= 8.535 m3s-1

So, the discharge of the cannel is 8.535 m3s-1 .

3. Results and Discussion:

Section Stream Depth (m) Distance Time Velocity Discharge

Width (m) (s) ( ms-1 ) ( m3s-1)
Left Middle Right Average

Section 1
17 1.24 1.7 1.06 1.33 26.1 81 V1=0.315 q1= 7.14
(Calibrated ) (Cal)

q2= 9.93
Section 2 15.86 2.34 2.7 1.65 2.23 23.36 79 (Cal)

So, The discharge of the cannel, =

. .
= m3s-1

= 8.535 m3s-1

So, the discharge of the cannel is 8.535 m3s-1 .

Figure 3.1: Cannel Direction (Google Map).

Figure 3.2: Cannel Profile.

In spite of having lack of essential instrument, the discharge of cannel was measured most
accurately. Discharge may vary due to seasonal implementation because of increasing or
decreasing of water in wet and dry season or in case of infrastructure operations for instance. By
using local instrument and for the limitations of dividing the site in suitable sectors and others
got almost accurate result through Area velocity method along with float method.