Trapezoidal Flumes and Ditch Flows

With many water management tools, it’s common for uses to be found outside of their original purpose. Take, for example, the trapezoidal flume. The trapezoidal flume was originally designed to measure irrigation flows, and while this is still the primary usage of this flume, it is also frequently used to measure flows in ditches.

Before the advent of the trapezoidal flume, measuring ditch flows was extremely difficult, often resulting in less than accurate readings. Now, however, any operation that needs to manage flows in ditches has their perfect option in a trapezoidal flume. Read more about measuring ditch flows with trapezoidal flumes and discover the easiest solution for installing this tool in your system.


There are several reasons that the trapezoidal flume is the best choice for measuring ditchwater flows, including quick and easy installation. Trapezoidal flumes come with a unique V-notch design, making them roughly the same shape as most ditches. Because of this similarity, trapezoidal flumes can be placed in a ditch with virtually no retrofitting necessary. This makes it a better choice than rectangular flumes like the Cutthroat flume and the Parshall flume.

Since you will not need to make any modifications to install a trapezoidal flume in a ditch, they are a much more cost-effective solution than flumes with comparable flow rates.

Flume Resolution

In addition to allowing quick installation in ditches, the unique V-shape of the trapezoidal flume provides several benefits. With these flumes, for instance, an outward expansion of the sidewalls is accompanied by an increase of flume depth, meaning these flumes can both accurately measure low flows and allow large flows to pass relatively easily. However, this means these flumes have a lower resolution, increasing the importance of determining the head.

Despite the low resolution, trapezoidal flumes are still the best option for measuring flow in ditches, as ditch water flow is generally light with brief periods of heavier flows after rain storms. As long as you take care to accurately determine the head in your flume, a trapezoidal flume is an excellent choice.

Keeping Flumes Clear

One of the biggest difficulties with measuring flow in ditches is keeping your primary measuring device free from sedimentation. Flow in ditches often contains trash, dirt, and other forms of debris which can easily accumulate in your flume, causing blockages and inaccuracies in your readings.

Unlike some other flumes that you could choose for measuring flow in a ditch, trapezoidal flumes are extremely resistant to sedimentation. Trapezoidal flumes have both a flat floor and expanded sidewalls, which allow solids to pass through the flume with minimal effort. In addition to preserving the functionality of your flume, this ability to pass large debris makes the trapezoidal flumes very low-maintenance, saving your operation time and effort.

Install Trapezoidal Flumes in Ditches

If you want to measure flow in a ditch effectively, you need the right tool. As we have seen, the best flow management tool for this task is a trapezoidal flume. Purchase the trapezoidal flumes you need to measure ditch flows by shopping with Tracom, FRP.

Take a look at the Tracom product line and you’ll find the quality fiberglass flumes that your system needs and deserves. Get a quote from Tracom today and find out how we can help you.

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