The amount of water flowing in a river is called the
discharge. Specifically, discharge is the volume of
water that flows past a point during a specific time.
Discharge is usually reported as the number of cubic
feet of water passing a point each second, abbreviated
as cfs (cubic feet per second).
Across the country, discharge is measured in many ways.
On some rivers, devices called stilling wells are installed.
The height of water in the well is proportional to the
Discharge can also be measured using weirs, small "walls"
built across rivers to force the flow through a V-notch
at the top. The height of the water level in the notch
indicates the amount of discharge.
Current meters can be used to measure river velocity.
The measured velocity must be multiplied by the river's
cross section to calculate discharge.