A reverse evolution in streamflow measurement technology is underway. In the beginning, stream velocity was measured by putting floats in the current and measuring the transit time of those floats over a known distance.
I had the great pleasure of re-connecting with colleagues at the NASH symposia at the AWRA 2014 national conference. There were three well attended NASH sessions and a panel discussion that were all great starting points for conversations. One such conversation about discharge measurement uncertainty with Tim Cohn resulted in the statement that is the title of this post. We were discussing the reasons for study into the problem of quantification of discharge measurement uncertainty.
Every change in the expected pattern of variability of water supply and quality poses a threat to the security of the water, food and energy we are dependent on for quality of life. Up until the very recent past conversations about the role of water data tended to be about development of, and management of, our water resources in a way that served environmental sustainability. Water data give us the means to identify the right balance between human and in-stream requirements and the evidence to ensure that such balance is respected.
Measuring and monitoring streamflow is a place-based activity. Hydrographers are isolated from each other because of the size of the geographic domain each one can cover. Training opportunities and technology workshops are often organized along institutional lines. Hydrographers often have closer communication with distant colleagues in the same institution than they have with those operating…