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Water Lab Report

Lexie Cannon | April 27, 2017 |


Hydrologic Cycle

The hydrologic cycle begins with the evaporation of water from all surface water on the planet. When it evaporates, it is condensed and lifted in the atmosphere. From there, it it release by precipitation and hits land in the form of rain, slow, etc. It seeps through the soils reach water table and reservoirs and then flows through the soil until it reaches the surface. ANd then the cycle repeats itself beginning with evaporation.

Water Budget Equation

The water budget equation is the simple representation of how the cycle balances itself out. Inputs - Outputs = Change in Storage, that is the budget equation. Inputs represent precipitation, streamflow-in, and groundwater-in, anything that adds water to a certain area is considered an input. Outputs are processes that take water away from an area, i.e. evaporation or streamflow-out, transpiration. Change in storage represents the body of water or area the water is moving in and out of. That could be lakes, streams, groundwater, or soils and vegetation.


Water Quality

To find the water quality we used the “YSI” to measure five different locations. The “YSI” tool is a probe that can measure stream temperature, water pH, conductivity, and dissolved oxygen concentration and its percentage. Each locations results were different due to the location of the water sample and the average amount of sun the water got daily. The sample that we took next to the road had a much higher conductivity and lower oxygen percentage than the rest. The reason we received such different numbers is due to the fact that the water source is so close the the roads. When the snow plows put ice on the road and cars exhaust fumes and liquids, they run into the water

changing those two characteristics. The sun, along with powering the hydrological cycle, assists in the oxidation of water. It give energy to organisms living inside the water which then release oxygen into the water. Depending on the amount of light that the water source receives on a daily basis play a part in the amount of oxygen present within the water.


YSI- Yellow Springs Instruments

Dissolved Oxygen Concentration- amount of oxygen in the water

Dissolved Oxygen Concentration %- percent of maximum amount of oxygen in the water

Conductivity- a measure of the dissolved ions in the water

pH- the acidic or basic characteristic of the water.

Stream Velocity

The Bobbers: For this tactic we measured a distance of 5 meters from the bridge and had our team member wait in the water at that mark. The rest of us headed to the top of the bridge and collected data from there. We dropped three rubber balls from the bridge and measured the time it took for the ball to get from the bottom of the bridge to the team member. We did this for a total of nine times. The Flowmeter: The flowmeter is an object used to accurately measure velocity. It has individual you can move the measurement to to properly place the meter in the water. If the stream in deeper than 0.5m then you have to move the meter to measure the velocity at 20 & 80% the depth of the water. The velocity at that location would then be the average of the two measurements. If the stream in shorter than 0.5m you need to measure velocity at 60% of the depth. So, my team and I took three separate readings at three different depths.

Stream Morphology

To find the morphology of the stream, we had to find the height of the instrument first. We did this by measuring the rod through the tripod. We needed to get the rod is closest possible to the tripod to get an accurate measurement; the measurement we got was 1.4m. After we found the height of the tripod, we then went to the stream and found the beginning and end of the floodplain and put our measuring tape(m), from each point, across the stream. After finding the distance across, we decided to take surveys of the stream in 1.3m intervals, taking a total of 10 surveys. The survey rod we used at each interval calculated the height of water at that spot. We did these calculations in two spots, one at a riffle and one at a pool.

Stream Discharge

To get the discharge results, we used Manning Equation (v=(100/n)*R^⅔*S^½).in order to calculate the equation we need to know what the area of the flow was, the perimeter, average velocity, slope, and the roughness

coefficient. Then, after finding the velocity, we needed to multiply by the area to get the discharge. Definitions:

n = roughness coefficient

S = slope

R = hydraulic radius(=area/perimeter)


Water Quality Data


















Riffle-​ by






the road











Riffle-​ light






path bridge


Riffle​ - the pond (on road)














These are the Stream Morphology Graphs for the Riffles and The Pools. (Y-axis: Tape Reading(cm); X-axis: Survey Rod Reading(cm) )

(Y-axis: Tape Reading(cm); X-axis: Survey Rod Reading(cm) ) This is the Average Area Discharge This is
(Y-axis: Tape Reading(cm); X-axis: Survey Rod Reading(cm) ) This is the Average Area Discharge This is

This is the Average Area Discharge

Survey Rod Reading(cm) ) This is the Average Area Discharge This is the Stream Discharge Manning’s

This is the Stream Discharge Manning’s Equation

is the Average Area Discharge This is the Stream Discharge Manning’s Equation This is discharge from

This is discharge from the Bobber method.

is the Average Area Discharge This is the Stream Discharge Manning’s Equation This is discharge from


When it comes to calculating stream discharge, using Manning's Equation is the best calculation. I believe it is the best because the equation leaves no room for errors. It is a straightforward method with hard data to represent credibility. The worst way to calculate discharge is using the bobber method. That method has no credibility due to the fact that the balls could all weigh different weights, and there is a surplus amount of friction. During our experiment, the balls had gotten stuck twice behind logs. And when dropping an object that has a high elasticity, the probability of the the bobber smoothly hitting the water is slim.


Overall, these processes that have been performed, are all necessary to find important components and characteristics of a stream. Being able to calculate velocity, discharge, quality, and the morphology of a stream is very important when it comes to understanding hydrology and the water cycle. It helps to understand what affects the way water moves place to place. This lab work, although tedious, is an important step in furthering a career in Environmental Science. I learned how easy it is to go through a process and think that what you are doing is correct, and then have a different data process show you how it is wrong. It opened my eyes on how important it is to check your data before you present it. It also showed me how scientist and mathematicians can easily make mistakes in the rush of it all. But most importantly, I was able to understand how simple water systems interact with the environment, and how much we have an affect on it.