Stage-Discharge Rating Curves Revisited

A. R. Schmidt, B. C. Yen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Stage-discharge ratings, along with a variety of empirical corrections for the non-unique relations between stage and discharge have been used for nearly a century. None of these approaches has proven consistently successful in general application because of simplifying assumptions to the momentum and continuity equations. The reference condition for these methods has been poorly defined, often leading to a non-unique reference condition. Furthermore, the assumption of uniform progressive flow underlying many methods is possible only for some waves in prismatic channels over a steady, uniform initial condition. In general, downstream backwater, along with the characteristics of the flood wave, can significantly affect both the velocity and attenuation of the flood wave, resulting in significant and varying errors in methods such as the Jones method. An alternative approach is to develop ratings theoretically, omitting relatively negligible terms from the momentum equation to approximate the dynamics of flow independent from characteristics of the flood wave.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHydraulic Measurements and Experimental Methods
EditorsT.L. Wahl, C.A. Pugh, K.A. Oberg, T.B. Vermeyen, T.L. Wahl, C.A. Pugh, K.A. Oberg, T.B. Vermeyen
Number of pages10
StatePublished - 2002
EventHydraulic Measurements and Experimental Methods 2002 - Estes Park, CO, United States
Duration: Jul 28 2002Aug 1 2002

Publication series

NameHydraulic Measurements and Experimental Methods


OtherHydraulic Measurements and Experimental Methods 2002
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityEstes Park, CO

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation
  • General Engineering


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