Model Performance of Water-Current Meters

Edited by:
Wahl T.L.Pugh C.A.Oberg K.A.Vermeyen T.B.Wahl T.L.Pugh C.A.Oberg K.A.Vermeyen T.B.


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The measurement of discharge in natural streams requires hydrographers to use accurate water-current meters that have consistent performance among meters of the same model. This paper presents the results of an investigation into the performance of four models of current meters - Price type-AA, Price pygmy, Marsh McBirney 2000 and Swoffer 2100. Tests for consistency and accuracy for six meters of each model are summarized. Variation of meter performance within a model is used as an indicator of consistency, and percent velocity error that is computed from a measured reference velocity is used as an indicator of meter accuracy. Velocities measured by each meter are also compared to the manufacturer's published or advertised accuracy limits. For the meters tested, the Price models werer found to be more accurate and consistent over the range of test velocities compared to the other models. The Marsh McBirney model usually measured within its accuracy specification. The Swoffer meters did not meet the stringent Swoffer accuracy limits for all the velocities tested.

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Conference Paper
Publication Subtype:
Conference Paper
Model Performance of Water-Current Meters
Year Published:
Larger Work Title:
Hydraulic Measurements and Experimental Methods
First page:
Last page:
Conference Title:
Hydraulic Measurements and Experimental Methods 2002
Conference Location:
Estes Park, CO
Conference Date:
28 July 2002 through 1 August 2002