Do you always have to have a purchased flow meter and data recorder for a pipeline? No you don’t. If you pump your flow, you can probably use a certified pump efficiency curve and your online 15-minute or hourly power records.
Call a pump shop that will produce a certified pump efficiency curve for you. The curve itself will cost $300 to $700, and there may be up to $1,000 in setup work to install gage access ports or create acoustic meter mounting points. The resultant curve will have a certified accuracy, in the range of +/- 2-3%, plus an accuracy range for changing pumping levels or variable pump flow rates. The ratings will be +/- 10% or better, and so satisfy the Water Board regulations.
Graphics credit: West Virginia University
The person doing the work can provide you a spreadsheet so you can paste in your power records and get hourly flow rates. The certification will be good for at least a couple of years, and when it is redone for you, will cost in the $300 to $700 range.
These costs look pretty good compared to a meter that will cost $1,500 to $4,000, and has to be recalibrated and maintained every couple of years. Another big benefit is that the pump curve lets your pump shop know what to recommend for you to get the most efficiency, and spend less money for your power!
Will this method work for groundwater as well as surface water pumps? Yes it will. SGMA requirements include well metering for a whole bunch of pumps, so this can be of use to you no matter how you pump your water.
Who should you call? See http://www.pumpefficiency.org/pump-testing/pump-testers/
One real expert is Bill Power:
Power Services, Inc.
6301 Beardon Lane
Modesto, CA 95357
Contact – Bill Power