Improving stream tracer gauging techniques
Stream discharge, a measurement of the volume of water passing a location along a stream, is an essential variable in many engineering and scientific projects. Discharge can be measured by injecting tracer material (such as common table salt or coloured dyes) into a stream and observing how the material mixes in the stream channel. For many streams, tracer gauging studies are the only reliable and safe method to determine discharge, yet many uncertainties exist in the experimental procedure. The objective of this internship is to improve current tracer gauging techniques to minimize measurement and analysis uncertainty and improve our understanding of mixing lengths. Northwest Hydraulic Consultants uses stream tracer gauging for many of their projects in British Columbia, such as their hydro-electric generation and stream restoration projects. An improvement in these field techniques will save time in the field and provide NHC with more reliable data to make confident, informed design and analysis decisions.