Standard Active Last Updated: Feb 24, 2022 Track Document
ASTM D5388-21

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

Standard Test Method for Indirect Measurements of Discharge by Step-Backwater Method D5388-21 ASTM|D5388-21|en-US Standard Test Method for Indirect Measurements of Discharge by Step-Backwater Method Standard new BOS Vol. 11.01 Committee D19
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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 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.


1.1 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 standard. The values given in parentheses are mathematical conversions to SI units that are provided for information only and are not considered standard.

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, health, and environmental practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

1.5 This international standard was developed in accordance with internationally recognized principles on standardization established in the Decision on Principles for the Development of International Standards, Guides and Recommendations issued by the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee.

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Book of Standards Volume: 11.01
Developed by Subcommittee: D19.07
Pages: 5
DOI: 10.1520/D5388-21
ICS Code: 17.220.20