ASTM D5388 - 93(2013)

    Standard Test Method for Indirect Measurements of Discharge by Step-Backwater Method

    Active Standard ASTM D5388 | Developed by Subcommittee: D19.07

    Book of Standards Volume: 11.01


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    ASTM D5388

    Significance and Use

    5.1 This test method is particularly useful for determining the discharge when it cannot be measured directly (such as during high flow conditions) by some type of current meter to obtain velocities and with sounding weights to determine the cross section (refer to Test Method D3858). This test method requires only one high-water elevation, unlike the slope-area test method that requires numerous high-water marks to define the fall in the reach. It can be used to determine a stage-discharge relation without needing data from several high-water events.

    5.1.1 The user is encouraged to verify the theoretical stage-discharge relation with direct current-meter measurements when possible.

    5.1.2 To develop a rating curve, plot stage versus discharge for several discharges and their computed stages on a rating curve together with direct current-meter measurements.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This test method covers the computation of discharge of water in open channels or streams using representative cross-sectional characteristics, the water-surface elevation of the upstream-most cross section, and coefficients of channel roughness as input to gradually-varied flow computations.2

    1.2 This test method produces an indirect measurement of the discharge for one flow event, usually a specific flood. The computed discharge may be used to define a point on the stage-discharge relation.

    1.3 The values stated in inch-pound units are to be regarded as the standard. The SI units given in parentheses are for information only.

    1.4 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

    D3858 Test Method for Open-Channel Flow Measurement of Water by Velocity-Area Method


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 17.220.20 (Measurement of electrical and magnetic quantities)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code


    DOI: 10.1520/D5388-93R13

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