Feb. 10, 2004

Contact: Todd Cohen, University Relations, (785) 864-8858.

MEDIA ADVISORY: State agriculture department to dedicate water flowmeter lab at KU Wednesday

What: Dedication of new state flowmeter testing facility at the University of Kansas

When: 2 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 11

Where: Hydraulics/Fluid Lab, located on the first floor, northwest end of Learned Hall

Who: Stuart Bell, dean of the KU School of Engineering; David Pope, chief engineer of the Kansas Department of Agriculture's Division of Water Resources; Jack Wergin, water conservation coordinator with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation; and Bruce McEnroe, KU professor of civil, environmental and architectural engineering.

The lab is being used to test and certify the state water division employees and, eventually, groundwater management district employees who inspect and regulate water flowmeters operated by private and public wholesale water users. The users -- including agriculture irrigators, municipal water suppliers and major industries such as energy providers -- have state-granted rights to certain volumes of water a year. The users are required to meter how much water they use. The state water division employees verify that the users' meters are accurate.

The first certification class was held Feb. 3 and 4 at the new facility with 14 employees from field offices in Topeka, Stockton and Garden City. Another class is being taught Feb. 10 and 11 for nine students from offices in Topeka and Stafford.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation awarded a $25,000 grant in 2001 to the state Division of Water Resources to build the lab and provided technical assistance in its design. In-kind services were provided by the state Department of Agriculture's Division of Water Resources and KU.

The flowmeter testing facility at KU provides a traceable flow measurement standard against which water meters in the field can be tested. Testing water meters in the field will help ensure accurate water use reporting. It is estimated that fewer than one-third of all water meters in use in Kansas are inaccurate. Inaccuracies can be the result of a poor-quality meter, a meter that hasn't been calibrated, a meter that was installed improperly or a poorly placed pump. Since the mid-1980s, new water right holders are required to have an installed flowmeter.

How the lab is used:
The flowmeter lab, with specialized instruction provided in part by KU faculty, allows for standardized training and certification for certain state water division employees and, ultimately, certain groundwater management district employees and other external entities. The training protocol will require modification to account for meter testing equipment that differs from that used by the division.

McEnroe provides three hours of instruction in hydraulics principles. After in-class instruction, participants receive hands-on training in the flowmeter lab. Participants are tested to verify that they are well-versed in hydraulics principles and flowmeter testing before they are certified.

Specifics about the lab:
The two-story, closed system pumps water up 60 feet to a constant head tank before it routes downward to the flowmeter. The constant head tank eliminates pump surges and provides a steady flow by gravity. Water can be recycled through the system so it runs continuously as long as its needed. When a discharge valve is opened on the test stand, water is regulated through the pipe circuit at a constant rate and discharged back to the sump, where it can be pumped back to the head tank.

About 5,000 gallons of water are needed to circulate through the system. The flowmeter is capable of maintaining constant flow rates from 100 to 1,150 gallons per minute.

There are close to 600 feet of pipe in the flowmeter, in diameters ranging from 4 inches to 10 inches.


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