Flow Data Quality Improvement for Pumps and Selected Major Gravity Structures

BFA Environmental, (aka Barnes, Ferland and Associates, Inc.) was retained by the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) to provide professional services in flow data quality improvement for pumps and major gravity structure, field flow measurements (stream gauging) and levee seepage analysis. This work is directly related and significantly overlaps with similar efforts USACE, Jacksonville District range of hydrology and hydraulic services.

The SFWMD is responsible for managing and protecting the water resources of South Florida, including the Everglades, the Kissimmee River and its floodplain, Lake Okeechobee and South Florida’s coastal estuaries. For this purpose, the SFWMD maintains and operates over 500 hydraulic structures including pump stations, spillways, weirs and culverts. Accurate flow data through these structures are critical for the operation of the system. The SFWMD uses an in-house flow computation (FLOW) program that uses static and dynamic databases and rating equations for computing instantaneous flow values through its control structures. A rating equation is a mathematical relationship between discharge through a structure and instantaneous water elevations upstream (headwater), and downstream (tail water) of the structure, and control information, such as engine and pump speeds and gate openings. Field flow measurements are used to calibrate and validate the rating equations.

In support of the SFWMD’s mission, BFA provided professional services in:

  • Stream gauging with Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers (ADCP)
  • Flow rating equation development.
  • Flow computations.
  • Sensitivity and uncertainty analysis of flow computations, QA/QC of flow and stream gauging data.
  • Embankment seepage analyses.

During the course of this project, BFA successfully:

  • Performed flow measurements with 600 and 1200 kHz ADCPs at pump stations, culverts, spillways and open-channel sites.
  • Analyzed and performed QA/QC of ADCP stream gauging data with WinRiver software.
  • Created and updated on a monthly base a stream gauging needs list for all the SFWMD pump stations.
  • Developed the procedures of flow rating analysis for pump stations adopted by the SFWMD.
  • Applied knowledge of hydraulics and fluid mechanics as well as hydraulic engineering research for developing and testing over 68 equations for pump stations, culverts, and spillways located in the Storm Treatment Areas (STA) and Water Conservation Areas (WCA), Lake Okeechobee, and Everglades National Park.
  • Validated and calibrated rating equations with stream gauging data, using several techniques and tools, such as linear and non-linear regression analysis.
  • Created new algorithms for flow computation through pump stations, which hydraulic characteristics and operation differ from the typical SFWMD pump station.
  • Calculated flows through SFWMD’s pump stations, culverts, spillways and canals.
  • Performed sensitivity and uncertainty analyses of computed flows.
  • Constructed Hydraulic Performance Graphs (HPG) and delivery curves to evaluate the capacity of reaches of the North New River Canal and West Palm Beach Canal for Lake Okeechobee Releases.
  • Prepared over 45 technical documents for the SFWMD.
  • Reviewed and provided technical feedback for the hydraulic and flow measurement aspects of the Intermediate Design Reports of the Cutler Wetlands C-1 Flow Way and the Picayune Strand Restoration Projects.
  • Performed improvements to seepage model related to dam safety.