Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Committee Chair(s)

Steven L. Barfuss


Steven L. Barfuss


Michael C. Johnson


Gary P. Merkley


The Utah Water Research Laboratory, in conjunction with the State of Utah, initiated a study to determine the accuracy of a wide variety of flow measurement devices in Utah. The project selected 70 sites with flow measurement devices throughout the state. During the assessment each device had its physical condition and flow measurement accuracy documented. Although a wide variety of flow measurement devices were tested, the majority were Parshall flumes. Many of the assessed Parshall flumes were not measuring flow to the specified ±5 percent design accuracy. Problems in flow measurement were due to issues with the staff gauge location and incorrect entrance geometry. Laboratory tests were conducted at the Utah Water Research Laboratory in an attempt to provide accurate flow measurement from flumes with these issues. The tests simulated incorrect locations for measuring upstream head with different entrance geometries on a 2-ft-wide Parshall flume. The flume was tested with three different entrance wingwall configurations, eighteen stilling wells, and two point gauges, allowing water surface profiles to be collected throughout the flume. Corrections for incorrect head measurement locations and entrance geometries were created. The objective of this thesis is to provide water users and regulators with the information necessary to help improve open-channel flow measurement accuracies. An overview of design accuracies and flow measurement devices is given. In addition, a method to correct for incorrect head readings in Parshall flumes, a widely used flow measurement device in Utah, is presented. It is expected that this information will help water users and regulators monitor their water with the understanding necessary to ensure that water is more accurately measured.