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Computer custom-designs flumes.

A new computer program is now available to help engineers design better flumes--flow-measuring devices that help irrigators reduce water use and runoff and improve crop yields.

Water that flows off fields can remove agricultural chemicals, threatening purity of both surface and underground water supplies.

"Municipal and industrial water users should find the program useful," says ARS' Albert J. Clemmens, a hydraulic engineer in Phoenix, Arizona. "They need accurate flumes to measure amounts of water diverted from streams and wastewater flowing in sewers."

Called FLUME 3.0, this computer program custom-designs site-specific flumes for any open channel, waterway, or stream. It takes the guesswork out of designing long-throated flow-measuring flumes and their related broad-crested weirs.

Before its development, engineers either had to select from existing shapes and sizes of flumes or, for long-throated flumes, design one through trial and error using a computer program originally developed in the early 1980's for calibrating flumes. Too frequently, the limitations of these designs were not apparent until after the structures were built and operated over a full range of field conditions.

In contrast to the earlier program, FLUME 3.0 is simple to use and menu driven, prompting and helping as the user enters relevant data, such as channel conditions upstream and downstream from the proposed site. It allows the design of devices having different cross-sectional shapes, such as an approach channel made from a circular section of steel pipe, while the flume crest could be shaped as a formed-concrete trapezoid.

Engineers can make changes to the design, checking on performance and suitability, then select the one that would be cheapest to construct at each specific site," says Clemmens who designed FLUME 3.0 at ARS' U.S. Water Conservation Laboratory.

The computer programming was done in cooperation with the International Institute for Land Reclamation and Improvement (ILRI) in The Netherlands.

Albert J. Clemmens is at the USDA-ARS U.S. Water Conservation Laboratory, 4331 E. Broadway Road, Phoenix, AZ 85040; phone (602) 379-4356, fax (602) 379-4355.

FLUME 3.0 software and user's manual are available for $37.00 through the ILRI, P.O. Box 45, 6700 AA, Wageningen, The Netherlands; or from Water Resources Publications, P.O. Box 260026, Highlands Ranch, CO 80126-0026, phone (800) 736-2405.
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Author:Senft, Dennis
Publication:Agricultural Research
Date:Jun 1, 1994
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