Salt River Project manager develops “flowtography” discharge measurements

By on February 25, 2015


An employee with the Salt River Project has developed what is being called “flowtography,” according to the Verde Independent. The method is an inexpensive way to monitor stream flow by combining time-lapse cameras with data from in-stream staff gauges.

“In the science of hydrology and in watershed management, monitoring and measurement, a picture is now worth more than words with Flowtography,” said Lee Ester, manager of the Salt River Project’s water measurement department and creator of the method, to the Verde Independent.

The equipment that Ester has combined collects time-lapse image data alongside more conventional measurements like water depth and stage. Flowtography, he says, is better than setting up typical monitoring systems that are left unattended for long periods of time because images can be used to verify accuracy of flow measurements as they’re occurring.

The Flowtography method has been used successfully by the Salt River Project for the last two years. It’s also being used at other locations in the Salt and Verde watersheds in Arizona.

Top image: Lee Ester created a method to monitor stream flow called “flowtography.” (Credit: Salt River Project)

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