Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2018TN135B

Low-cost Real-time Streamflow Network for Falling Water River Watershed

Institute: Tennessee
Year Established: 2018 Start Date: 2018-03-01 End Date: 2019-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $16,459 Total Non-Federal Funds: $47,951

Principal Investigators: Alfred Kalyanapu

Abstract: Streamflow monitoring in the United States (US) is a cost-intensive venture, and usually performed by government agencies like the US Geological Survey (USGS). With reduced resources across the federal agencies towards environmental monitoring, agencies and stakeholders are challenged to respond with cross-cutting, collaborative and low-cost alternatives for streamflow monitoring. One such alternative is using low-cost environmental sensors and developing a real-time sensor network using IoT (Internet of Things) devices. With this technology, smaller watersheds (e.g., HUC-8 and HUC-10 level) can be equipped with lost-cost sensors at many locations and a clear picture of hydrological response can be achieved. Therefore, the objective of the proposed project is to develop a low-cost, real-time streamflow network for the Falling Water River Watershed in middle Tennessee region. To achieve the project objectives, the following three tasks are proposed: (i)- Assemble a low-cost, real-time enabled water level sensor, (ii)- Field-testing of the sensors, and (iii)- Installation of the sensors and sensor network. The Falling Water River Watershed, which covers Putnam, White and Dekalb counties, is home to the City of Cookeville, the urban center in the Upper Cumberland Plateau. With projected future growth, its stakeholders including the Tennessee Division of Environment and Conservation, United States Geological Survey, Tennessee Department of Transportation, Burgess Falls State Park, City of Cookeville, and Tennessee Clean Water Network, formed a collaborative partnership to develop a Falling Water River watershed plan. A crucial component of this plan is a continuous streamflow data in the watershed, which currently has one USGS station with a one-year data record. Therefore, the proposed project will lead a dense sensor network across the watershed, and over time enable the stakeholders to have a spatially variable hydrological response of the Falling Water River Watershed.