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Automated Low-Cost Stream/River Flow Monitoring By Electronic Flowmeter Connected To Open Source Embedded Electronics

The continuous monitoring of stream and river discharge is essential for water resources management and maintaining watershed ecosystems. Yet, the high cost of monitoring equipment such as ADV (Acoustic Doppler Velocity) makes streamflow monitoring absent in much of the world. Here we describe a relatively low cost flow measuring system based on a Hall sensor-equipped electronic flowmeter connected to an open source microprocessor (SODAQ Mbili). Data is recorded on a micro-SD card and also can be transmitted via a low-cost cellular modem. Low-power solar systems (< 10 W) can remotely power the system. We have deployed this system in the Wami river estuary in Tanzania as well as at MacArthur AgroEcological Center in Florida. The use of open source embedded electronics can offer realtime flow monitoring at a fraction of the cost of professional equipment. Furthermore, trained personnel can maintain and troubleshoot the system by replacing circuit components. The evolution of open source electronics aids the development of newer and cheaper systems in future, and requires basic electronics and programming training.

Roman Evarist (Primary Presenter/Author), AdaTech. Morogoro, Tanzania,;

Amartya Saha ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Archbold Biological Station,;