Saturday, August 6, 2011

Reading Common Kansas Flow Meters

Since all the wells in GMD 4 are metered, it never hurts to cover the reading of water flow meters from time to time.  Kansas meter specs have been adopted by our GMD, and they allow for any number of meters to be used by water right owners.  All the meters listed on the Kansas approved meter list have been approved as meeting the state specs.  This is good in most respects, but it does mean plenty of different-looking meters are out there.

Fundamentally, they are in most ways similar, though.  Most read in either "Gallons", "Acrefeet", or "Acreinches", and most have both a totalizer (odometer-type numbers) and a volume of water sweep hand (speedometer-type hand).  Finally, most of the totalizers have two or three fixed digits following the wheel-type numbers.

In reading any water flow meter, you need to know the "units" the meter is calibrated in (Gallons, Acrefeet, etc.) and its multiplication factor.  Two fixed digits equals a multiplication factor of 100 for meters measuring Gallons (left example in jpg below) while three fixed digits equals a multiplication factor of 1000 - again, for meters measuring Gallons (right example in jpg below).  Click the images to enlarge.

The most common meters we have in GMD 4 are calibrated in Acrefeet.  The multiplication factor works differently for these units.  A multiplication factor of .01 (left image below) indicates where the decimal will be placed in the string of numbers - in this case two digits from the right.  And three digits from the right in the case of a .001 multiplier (right image below)  In most cases the decimal digits will be a different color, or otherwise differentiated from the whole numbers.

If you're still confused, we have a meter calculator on our website HERE.  While pretty nifty, you still need to know your units and multiplication factor.  We have pictures of the common meters on the website so you know which calculator to use.

Finally, to calculate how much water has been pumped, you need to subtract your starting meter reading from the ending meter reading - as the totalizer is cumulative and does not reset.  If you didn't jot down your starting reading, you're toast - unless it was a brand new meter which of course started at zero.  (Just think of this the same way you'd figure out how many miles your son put on the family car for his date last Saturday night.)  However, this gets tricky if the meter has rolled over in the middle of your pumping season.  Yeah, you'd figure it out if the car odometer rolled over on date night, so you can do this, too.  But if you get stuck, use our website meter calculator.

As always, if you have a specific question, call the office.  In many cases we monitor meter values from time to time throughout the year, and will always have the reported ending meter reading from the year before.


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  2. Bizconn: Since the post was on the most "common" meters we find used here in NW Kansas, I did not mention the other meter types that will actually read differently - like the electromagnetic meters you mention - several of which are on the Kansas list of approved meters. Since these tend to be easier to read I didn't see a need to cover them as my intent was to educate on the more mechanical meter types. Thanks for mentioning that other meter types are out there as well. And of course, Bizconn is not the only supplier of alternative meters.

  3. Water flow meter is used to measure the amount of water consumed and it is used for domestic and industrial purposes.

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