Flowtography projects

July 27, 2017

SRP's Flowtography® projects use gauges and remote photography to better understand the behavior of streams, snow accumulation and watershed conditions across Arizona.

The technology, designed by SRP researchers, is not only deployed for the company's own monitoring purposes. SRP partners with numerous entities, including the City of Flagstaff, members of the Four Forest Restoration Initiative and Prescott and Prescott Valley.

This allows those cities and groups to better understand the effects of natural and manmade impacts on washes and intermittent streams.

Flowtography does this by combining synchronized time-lapse photography with the collection of conventional water depth measurement, or stage data, in ephemeral Arizona streams that exist only for a short period following precipitation or snowmelt.

When the electronic data is collected, so too are the images from the Flowtography equipment on site. Back at SRP's offices, the conventional electronic data is processed for stage accuracy by consulting, comparing and verifying the images collected against the electronic data, which is especially useful in seasonal and flashy ephemeral stream events.

This data not only provides a visual, historic record of the watershed, but it may also help researchers and partner agencies identify future water supplies and better understand how fires, groundwater pumping and other impacts change the way water flows on the watershed.

For example, Flagstaff is using the data, in part, to better understand the impacts of the Schultz Fire and the effect remediation efforts are having on flash flooding.