Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Agriculture - Irrigation


Bioresource and Agricultural Engineering


College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences


Daniel J. Howes

Advisor Department

Bioresource and Agricultural Engineering

Advisor College

College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences


Accurate flow measurement is required to effectively manage water resources. California Senate Bill X7-7 (SB X7-7), legislates this need by requiring agricultural water providers serving areas greater than 25,000 acres to develop an Agricultural Water Management Plan (AWMP) and adopt pricing based at least partly on volumetric water deliveries (DWR, 2009). This study focused on two of the most common flow measurement/flow control devices used in California open channel water conveyance systems: the circular meter gate and the rectangular meter gate. Testing was conducted on three Armco-type (round gates over round discharge pipe) gates measuring 12”, 18”, and 24” and two rectangular gates (rectangular gates over round discharge pipe) measuring 18” and 24”. The three round gates used in the study were the Model 101C produced and provided by Fresno Valve and Castings Incorporated. The two rectangular meter gates were manufactured by Mechanical Associates located in Visalia, California and provided by the San Luis Canal Company located in Dos Palos, California. Testing was conducted in an outdoor laboratory setting at the Irrigation Training and Research Center’s (ITRC) Water Resources Facility at the California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California under a variety of flow conditions as experienced in the field in order to: 1) evaluate the effectiveness of these gates as flow measurement devices and determine whether they meet the volumetric accuracy requirements outlined in SB X7-7, 2) develop standards for installation and use that improve flow measurement accuracy, 3) configure more accurate gate rating tables based on updated coefficient of discharge values, and 4) determine if additional gate rating tables are needed for “high” supply channel velocities. The meter gate was set perpendicular to the supply channel. Baseline data was first collected through testing with low supply channel water velocities. Additional testing was then conducted with high supply channel water velocities to analyze the effect on the coefficient of discharge. Based on previous studies it was hypothesized that as the Froude number (FR#) in the supply channel increased (water approach velocity increased), the coefficient of discharge would decrease as a result of an increase in energy needed for the perpendicular velocity transition. Data evaluation, however, indicated no statistically significant effect of water approach velocity on the coefficient of discharge for the 12”, 18” and 24” circular gates or the 18” and 24” rectangular gates at an α-level = 0.01. When operating the gates under recommended conditions relative flow uncertainty was within +/- 5%. This meets the accuracy requirements set by SB X7-7 for turnout flow measurement devices. Based on the results of this study, Cd values do not need to be adjusted for Froude numbers up to 0.35 for any of the studied gates. It should be noted, however, that while most meter gates used will be in conditions where supply channel Froude numbers do not exceed 0.35, further research is needed to study potential effects from Froude numbers exceeding the range found in this study.