Portable Gauging Stations for Flood, Drought and Safety Management

River gauging is an important part of flood management and is essential for the development of an understanding of how each catchment responds individually to rainfall. This understanding is essential if we are both to reduce flooding and tackle the impacts of climate change. Traditional gauging stations are normally deployed on main rivers, with data delivered to a central database. This is far from ideal, too granular, not accurate, or local enough for the control of flood interventions which could be located upstream in a tributary or catchment liable to flood.

Providing affordable local gauging at a catchment or even sub-catchment level, was the inspiration behind the creation of the “gauging station in a box”. A semi-portable gauging station that does not require any civil works for installation, enabling them to be deployed at substantially lower cost in a whole host of locations, for a variety of applications, from flood management through to chalk stream deficit control, to precision volumetric measurement when used in conjunction with portable inset V-notch weirs.

Lowering the Cost of Gauging

Traditional river gauging stations such as those commissioned and used by the Environment Agency can be expensive to plan, construct and maintain. The period between concept to commissioning can be many months, even years, often delayed by the need to acquire land and access rights.

Not surprisingly, despite having over 200,000 km of defined water courses, the UK has only circa 1,500 river gauging stations. As a consequence, numerous flood-prone river tributaries, catchments, and sub-catchments are currently unmonitored. This leaves whole communities without any meaningful locally derived warnings. More crucially, granularity prohibits the deployment and use of smart interventions such as tilting weirs, smart lagoons, and flow regulators, such as our own automated wastewater flow regulator.

To combat the above, the gauging station in a box is designed for rapid non-evasive installation. It is totally self-contained, including the traditional Vegapulse C11 or C21 radar, battery and controller, all housed in a bulletproof stainless steel outer enclosure.

A key enabler to rapid installation is the mounting kit. This includes a set of ingenious telescopic brackets that enables installation on railings, bridge parapets, walls, piles, etc without the need for evasive drilling.

Then there is no need for advanced surveys in areas where cellular coverage is not assured, as stations are supplied with Iridium satellite communications rather than cellular.

Introducing Gauging with Real-Time Telemetry for Flood Intervention

Traditional gauging stations operate on a centralised basis with data sent to the flood authority for processing. However, to move us into the “intervention mode” we require dual data feeds. This is where the data is fed both to the central database but also simultaneously to the flood control interventions to create a local smart network.

Crucially the data feed provided locally for the smart network needs to be replicable as an open standard compatible with both contemporary and legacy systems. This is why the gauging station in a box includes the option of delivering the gauged level as a local 4-20mA level.

The use of 4-20mA makes test and interface simple, and eliminates the need for operatives to have any special training or tools other than a multimeter, another tick in the box of reducing cost and improving testability.


In summary, the gauging station in a box, is considered to be an innovative step in gauging that provides accurate, affordable catchment and sub-catchment gauging on a temporary or permanent basis.

Its ingenious mounting kit and the use of the Iridium satellite network enable units to be deployed absolutely anywhere without the need for cellular coverage or evasive drilling to structures.

The option for the inclusion of real-time telemetry permits the control of smart assets from SuDS through sluice gates in order to optimise flows and reduce flooding.

We believe that the gauging station in a box is a big step in the right direction to combat flooding and pollution by enabling the creation of smart networks helping to improve community-level resilience in the face of climate change.