Flowmeter Evaluation and Application

Science Center Objects

Borehole flowmeters with the capability to measure groundwater velocity and direction of flow are tested and applied to various hydrogeologic settings.


  • Efficacy testing of flowmeters in aquifer simulators
    • Testing conducted in unconsolidated and fractured-rock aquifer simulators
    • Results identified ranges of conditions where flowmeters can be reliably deployed
  • Field applications to sites where groundwater flow information is valued
    • Application of sites with varied hydrogeology has shown the potential for flowmeters to provide information that might otherwise be unrealized

Lab simulator for flowmeter testing

Controlled Laboratory Testing

A mission of the U.S. Geological Survey is to evaluate technologies capable of improving hydrologic data collection and water-resources management. This study evaluated the capabilities of three three types of borehole floweters to measure horizontal velocity and flow direction.  Examples of flowmeter applications might include advective transport prediction, groundwater divide determination, conjunctive use impacts, and vertical discrimination of local and regional flow systems.


Flowmeter response to well construction, discharge, and hydrogeologic properties of the porous media were tested in aquifer simulators. A range of conditions appropriate for applying each tool were identified and documented. Flowmeters were then applied to sites with various hydrogeologic settings to validate lab results and provide new information to the ongoing studies. Future opportunities to apply the flowmeters to new situations are always being sought.


The laboratory simulation results are documented in:

For more information, see Bayless and others, 2011, Accuracy of Flowmeters Measuring Horizontal Groundwater Flow in an Unconsolidated Aquifer Simulator: Ground Water Monitoring & Remediation 31(2), 48-62.