ASTM D3858 - 95(2014)

    Standard Test Method for Open-Channel Flow Measurement of Water by Velocity-Area Method

    Active Standard ASTM D3858 | Developed by Subcommittee: D19.07

    Book of Standards Volume: 11.01


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    ASTM D3858

    Significance and Use

    5.1 This test method is used to measure the volume rate of flow of water moving in rivers and streams and moving over or through large man-made structures. It can also be used to calibrate such measuring structures as dams and flumes. Measurements may be made from bridges, cableways, or boats; by wading; or through holes cut in an ice cover.

    5.2 This test method is used in conjunction with determinations of physical, chemical, and biological quality and sediment loadings where the flow rate is a required parameter.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This test method covers the measurement of the volume rate of flow of water in open channels by determining the flow velocity and cross-sectional area and computing the discharge therefrom (Refs (1-7)).2

    1.2 The procedures described in this test method are widely used by those responsible for the collection of streamflow data, for example, the U.S. Geological Survey, Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Water Survey Canada, and many state and provincial agencies. The procedures are generally from internal documents of the above listed agencies, which have become the defacto standards as used in North America.

    1.3 This test method covers the use of current meters to measure flow velocities. Discharge measurements may be made to establish isolated single values, or may be made in sets or in a series at various stages or water-level elevations to establish a stage-discharge relation at a site. In either case, the same test method is followed for obtaining field data and computation of discharge.

    1.4 Measurements for the purpose of determining the discharge in efficiency tests of hydraulic turbines are specified in International Electrotechnical Commission Publication 413 for the field acceptance tests of hydraulic turbines, and are not included in this test method.

    1.5 The values stated in inch-pound units are to be regarded as standard. The values given in parentheses are mathematical conversions to SI units that are provided for information only and are not considered standard.

    1.6 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.


    2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.

    ASTM Standards

    D1129 Terminology Relating to Water

    D2777 Practice for Determination of Precision and Bias of Applicable Test Methods of Committee D19 on Water

    D4409 Test Method for Velocity Measurements of Water in Open Channels with Rotating Element Current Meters

    D5089 Test Method for Velocity Measurements of Water in Open Channels with Electromagnetic Current Meters

    ISO Standard

    ISO3455(1976) Calibration of Rotating-Element Current Meters in Straight Open Tanks


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 17.120.20 (Flow in open channels)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code


    DOI: 10.1520/D3858

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