This study developed an efficient discharge measurement method that can be applied to estimate the streamflow of natural streams and artificial channels. The conventional methods that apply current meters to measure discharge are costly, time-consuming, and labor-intensive. Owing to a shortage of observers in streamflow measurement and for the safety of hydrologists and with advances in measurement techniques, many have strongly suggested the use of non-contact methods when determining streamflow. The non-contact methods that use floats or surface velocity radar to determine the streamflow are becoming more and more popular especially during periods of high water. However, it is not easy to estimate the surface velocity coefficient of each vertical directly for determining the mean velocity in each subsection. As the relationship between the mean surface velocity and mean velocity of a stream cross-section is constant, an efficient and accurate non-contact method of streamflow measurement could be further developed. Thus, streamflow can be estimated by the constant, the mean surface velocity, and cross-sectional area of a stream. The mean velocity of a cross-section, used for parameter calibration, is usually obtained from the discharge made based on the velocity-area principle and cross-sectional area. The surface velocity was measured at the vertical that is then used to estimate mean velocity of a subsection. Once the parameter is determined, streamflow can be obtained from the surface velocity. This approach was further applied to a natural stream and an artificial channel. Measurements were made to verify the reliability and accuracy of the proposed approach. The results show that the relationship between mean channel velocity and mean surface velocity is very stable in both a natural stream and an artificial channel because the streamflow differences, given by the proposed and the conventional method, are relatively insignificant. As a result, mean surface velocity can be used to determine the streamflow quickly and provides for a reliable and accurate measurement of streamflow.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.