Flow Monitoring

Measuring Flow for Our Projects

Efficient management of water resources requires measuring how much water is available and used as accurately as possible. Measuring flow is also required to ensure that water is diverted, stored and delivered in compliance with water rights decrees, permits, regulations and contractual agreements. Flow data is used to make operational decisions, to account and bill allottees correctly for their water use, to support water rights administration, to demonstrate compliance with flow obligations and to support a broad spectrum of engineering and scientific analyses and investigations. 

As water flows in and out of Northern Water projects on its way to water users, it passes through dozens of flow gauging stations that allow us to collect and deliver accurate amounts of water. These stations are a part of our flow monitoring network and collect continuous data that are transmitted real-time.  

Flow measurement structures and gauges must be properly maintained for them to collect accurate and reliable flow data. Northern Water field staff members conduct manual discharge measurements to ensure accurate flow data is being reported. Accurate flow data helps to minimize water losses and proper management of water deliveries.  

Flow data is critical to determine the amount of water available in our systems and that can be allocated and ultimately delivered for beneficial use.

River with flowing water

Capture Flow Data

Through the management of the Colorado-Big Thompson and Windy Gap projects, we set gauges throughout our service area to monitor the flow of water coming in and out of the projects.

Flow Data State of Colorado Streamflow Data

Building on our Partnerships 

Through a partnership with the State of Colorado Division of Water Resources, Northern Water installed flow monitoring stations throughout the South Platte River Basin. Our Field Services Department maintains the telemetry equipment, but also downloads the data and passes it along directly to the state. This cooperative effort has allowed transparency with water users throughout the South Platte River Basin. Overall, this cooperative effort has built a very comprehensive flow monitoring network for the Division 1 office.

In addition to the State of Colorado, we also partner with the Lower South Platte Water Conservancy District and St. Vrain and Left Hand Conservancy District, who have contributed funding and resources in developing the South Platte River Basin flow monitoring network.