The measurement of discharge using a commercial digital video camera in irrigation canals

Ming Ching Lee, Jan Mou Leu, Hsun Chuan Chan, Wei Che Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents measurements of the discharge by image techniques on the surface velocity field and water stage in irrigation canals. The velocity and stage gauge are obtained from a commercial digital video camera. The time series of the surface velocity and stage were collected simultaneously. Particle image velocimetry (PIV) was used to determine the surface velocities in the irrigation canal. PIV proceeds by using bubbles floating on the water surface as tracer particles, and making a cross-correlation analysis between two continuous images. The whole surface velocity distribution in the irrigation canals can be obtained. The water stage of the canal is obtained from the digital video camera images by making use of image segments to separate the stage gauge and the background. The discharge is computed by using the surface velocities and water stage via open channel velocity distribution theory. Comparing the discharge measured using image techniques with Parshall flume data shows that the differences are less then 5%. The results suggest that the image measurement techniques developed can be used in applications to estimate the discharge in irrigation canals effectively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)150-154
Number of pages5
JournalFlow Measurement and Instrumentation
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Jun

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Modelling and Simulation


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