Measuring Discharge in Natural Channels

One of the biggest difficulties for water management systems across the country is deciding how they will measure and manage flow in existing natural channels. Natural channels can prove very difficult because of their unusual shapes and sometimes erratic flow types, which means that it’s of the utmost importance that you do the right amount of research so that you can get the management tools that you need for accurate measurements.

Generally speaking, measuring discharge in natural channels is handled by two useful tools, weirs and flumes. Read about measuring discharge in natural channels with weirs and fiberglass flumes and learn which tool is better for your water management system.



Weirs are one of the most common tools for measuring discharge in natural channels. There are many reasons for this, but the two most important are in terms of accuracy and ease of installation. Most weirs can be easily placed in natural channels at a much lower cost than you would expect from other flow measurement tools, making this too a great choice for operations where overhead costs are a concern.

The other main reason that water management systems choose weirs to measure discharge is that the necessary calculations are much simpler than with other tools. However, these calculations do require head measurements upstream of the weir, adding to your operator’s difficulties.



Although they are less common for natural channel systems than weirs, various types of fiberglass flumes still make a great option to measure and manage discharge flow. Unlike weir plates where flow goes over the top of the plate, flow goes through a flume, making for a self-contained system that offers much easier measurements.

When it comes to natural channels, however, flumes can be difficult to install if your channel has an unusual shape. On the other hand, flumes can handle a much broader range of flow rates than weirs. In terms of measuring discharge, the calculations that flumes require can be very simple or very complicated depending on the flume that you use, and they are slightly less accurate than the measurements you can take from a weir.


Picking the Tool for Your System

Choosing the right discharge measurement tools for your water management system really comes down to your operation’s specific needs. For example, if you’re looking to make your operator’s job as easy as possible, then flumes are probably the better choice because they’re both easy to measure from and better understood by most operators. However, if you’re looking for low cost and high measurement accuracy, then weirs are your clear choice.

No matter the tool that you choose, you should be easily able to measure discharge and increase the operational success of your water management system.


Purchase Fiberglass Flumes and Weirs Today

If you’re ready to install fiberglass flumes in your natural channels, then your top resource for these excellent flow management tools is Tracom, FRP. Tracom is dedicated to, and passionate about, offering water management systems the best fiberglass water management tools possible, and you’ll be able to find the products you need by browsing our excellent catalogue.

Learn more about our fiberglass products so that you can choose the perfect tools for your operation.