What is Hydro 21?
Hydro 21 is a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) task committee that was formed to provide vision and leadership in the USGS for identifying and evaluating new technologies and methods that might have the potential to change the paradigm in the USGS streamgaging program. Hydro 21's mission and vision were formalized into a workplan.
Why is there a need for Hydro 21?
The USGS has the responsibility of monitoring discharge at sites on over 7000 of America's rivers. The present methods for determining river discharge are expensive and often require field technicians to work in hazardous conditions. Because of the importance of the streamgaging program, the USGS has launched a systematic effort in search of new technologies to alleviate the present shortcomings.
One possible approach is to develop a "non-contact method" that could be used in routine river discharge monitoring by direct measurement of river cross-sectional area, water surface elevation, and water velocity distribution across the river. If the direct, non-contact approach can be proven to be accurate, it would reduce streamgaging costs, improve accuracy, and reduce hazards associated with the traditional methods.
What is Hydro-21's role?
The Hydro 21 committee members are investigating, researching, and testing non-contact methods. Hydro 21 has considered a broad spectrum of techniques including acoustics, image methods, laser, and radar. At present, Hydro 21 favors radar technology for monitoring river discharge by direct measurement of open-channel properties without contacting the water. The committee publishes the results of many of its research efforts and also presents at conferences and USGS meetings.
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| U.S. Geological Survey | Water Resources Discipline | Office of Surface Water |