You are ready to install a measuring device on your diversion. How does that process work? If you do it yourself, then previous posts in this blog explain how to do that. What if you need outside assistance to get the work done? The steps to take are: 1) phone call or email me, 2) site visit with you or responsible person, with surveys as needed, photos, and any other needed information, 3) my evaluation back at the office, considering diversion size, slope, soils, water right, purposes of the diversion, and other important factors, 4) my report of findings, recommendations, and cost estimates of three or more alternatives goes to you – more than one way to get the job done, 5) you choose the option that works best for you, and then installation, which can take from two to ten hours per diversion, or longer if access is difficult, and 6) I certify the measuring device accuracy and suitability for submittal to the Water Board.
First is to call or email me, or another engineer or technician with flow measurement and water rights experience. When you call me, there are some basic questions I will ask to make sure I understand your needs:
- Where is your diversion, on what creek or river? If it’s close I might be able to get there tomorrow; if it’s 200 miles away down a steep canyon, I might have to plan for next week. Some streams I know fairly well, including some of the water rights, and that helps me give you a faster and better idea of what you’ll need to do.
- What is the basis of your water right? It may be a permit or license, decree, riparian, or a few other less common kinds of rights.
- How much is your water right? It will typically be a flow amount, for example, 1.0 cubic foot per second, or 450 gallons per minute, or 40 miners inches. It might be just a volume, like 20 acre-feet per year.
- Do you have a right to surplus flows? These may be defined in a decree, or by a permit or license. They might exist but not be defined, if your water right is riparian.
- Is there any existing device at your diversion – headgate, concrete headwalls, or other structure? What condition is it in? Perhaps it can be improved to make an accurate measurement device, saving time and money.
- Why do you want a device – just for compliance with the Water Board requirements, or also management, to reduce
disputes with neighbors, and any other reasons?
- Budget – do you have a set amount in mind, and how flexible is it to get a more durable, accurate, or simple-to-use device installed?
- Scheduling – when can we meet, how fast are you looking to get this device installed and certified?
Step 2, visit the site. Things I need to see are access, possible sites for a device, equipment available for installation, soil type, ditch slope, ditch condition (cows walking the banks, or
isolated from livestock), and other important physical factors. I will take notes, photos, quick level surveys, and collect any other necessary information.
Step 3, I perform the evaluation back at the office. I include consideration of several devices, and assessment of which one offers the best performance with durability. The soil type will dictate whether native fill can be used for backfill, or whether 3/4″ minus road base is necessary for a good seal of the bottom and sides of the structure. Access by livestock may require a heavier device, like a prefabricated concrete Briggs weir.
Step 4, I produce a report of findings, recommendation(s), and cost estimates. This is typically a two to four page report for each diversion. All of
the information for the existing diversion and water right is summarized. I discuss physical conditions and the importance of each, plus constraints because of each site Several alternatives are given, with advantages and disadvantages of each. I detail a cost estimate for each alternative, and then I include the top recommendation.
Step 5, I will begin installation on the alternative you choose as soon as both our schedules will allow. Installation of Briggs weirs or pouring a concrete flume in place will require a backhoe; the newer sheet-metal flumes can be placed by hand, or may need a crew or backhoe for larger, premanufactured flumes. Important: the installation is not finished until we run flow through the device, make sure everything is working right, and show you how it works. If we can’t run
flow at the installation time, we’ll schedule when I can come back and make sure everything works or is adjusted so it does work as designed.
Step 6, engineering certification of the measurement device for the Water Board. This will include at least the minimum-required certification, and may include an engineering report for any non-standard conditions. Photos, diagrams, a brief operations manual, and other relevant information will be included.
That’s it! With those steps done, your diversion will comply with State law, allow you to manage your water effectively, and reduce neighbor disputes. That’s all for now, a good Sunday to all!