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Durham University

Department of Engineering

Staff Profile

Publication details for Dr Yaodong Wang

Ngoma, Daniel H. & Wang, Yaodong (2018). Hhaynu micro hydropower scheme: Mbulu – Tanzania comparative river flow velocity and discharge measurement methods. Flow Measurement and Instrumentation 62: 135-142.

Author(s) from Durham


The objective of the study has been to determine the river discharge by measuring the river flow velocity using two different measurement methods together with the area method and compare the accuracy of the results.

Two river flow velocity measurement methods were used, the floating method and the use of current meter. In floating method a floating object was used to determine the water flow velocity on the surface by allow a float to move a distance of 1 m along the river and record the time it takes to travel that distance in seconds. Ten readings were taken and manually recorded and the flow velocity was determined by taking the distance travel by the float (1 m) divide by the time taken by the float (in seconds). On the other hand, the current meter method measure directly the average flow velocity across the river depth, twenty readings were taken and recorded manually and the average velocity were calculated. The use of current meter display flow velocity directly without the need of calculations.

The result shows that both methods produce very close value, but the floating method have displayed higher value of around + 2% than current meter method which is a good value, despite the fact that floating method measures the surface velocity and the use of calculation. Many literature highlighted the accuracy of flow velocity measurement using current meter due to the fact that it measures the average velocity across the river, but from the findings when the floating method flow velocity measurement is properly applied it will produce as accurate results as the current meter with a fraction of cost in terms of instrument cost and expertise requirement in measurements.

The floating method flow velocity measurement method could be applicable as alternative to current meter in micro hydropower projects river flow measurements in rural areas of developing countries with limited funding and local expertise.