In Reply Refer To:
Mail Stop 415

December 13, 2010


SUBJECT: Publication of the Techniques and Methods Report Book 3, Section A8 “Discharge measurements at gaging stations.”

The Office of Surface Water is pleased to announce the release of the Techniques and Methods Report Book 3, Chapter A8 “Discharges measurements at gaging stations" by D. Phil Turnipseed and Vernon B. Sauer. The report is available on-line at: . This report supersedes U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Techniques of Water-Resources Investigations Book 3, Chapter A8, 1969, “Discharge measurements at gaging stations,” by T.J. Buchanan and W.P. Somers, available at, and supplements USGS Water-Supply Paper 2175, Volume 1, 1982, “Measurement and computation of streamflow: Measurement of stage and discharge,” by S.E. Rantz and others, available at

The techniques and standards for making discharge measurements at streamgages are described in this publication. The vertical axis rotating-element current meter, principally the Price current meter, has been traditionally used for most measurements of discharge; however, advancements in acoustic technology have led to important developments in the use of acoustic Doppler current profilers, acoustic Doppler velocimeters, and other emerging technologies for the measurement of discharge. These new instruments, based on acoustic Doppler theory, have the advantage of no moving parts, and in the case of the acoustic Doppler current profiler, quickly and easily provide three-dimensional stream-velocity profile data through much of the vertical water column. For much of the discussion of acoustic Doppler current profiler moving-boat methodology, the reader is referred to USGS Techniques and Methods Report Book 3, Chapter A22 (Mueller and Wagner, 2009). The use of portable weirs and flumes, floats, volumetric tanks, indirect methods, and tracers in measuring discharge are briefly described.

Copies of the report will be mailed to each of the main Water Science Center Offices. If you need additional copies of the report, please contact Annette Goode ( ) in the Office of Surface Water.

Suggested citation: Turnipseed, D.P., and Sauer, V.B., 2010, Discharge measurements at gaging stations: U.S. Geological Survey Techniques and Methods book 3, chap. A8, 87 p. (Also available at
Comments or suggestions about the subject report should be addressed to Phil Turnipseed, USGS National Wetlands Research Center, 700 Cajundome Boulevard, Lafayette, LA 70506 337-266-8501, or

Stephen F. Blanchard /signed/
Chief, Office of Surface Water
Delaware River Master  

U.S. Geological Survey
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