Well, it’s that time of year again. As the Earth swings around our big ol’ fashion fusion furnace to where we were 365.24 days ago, we are forced to reflect on the year that was, and what will become of us.. A chilling prospect, I know, but there is hope! Despair not, fair Fathomlander, for there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The Fabled Sky Catacombs of WIT have been opened! High in the clouds over Fathomland is a floating city, like Sanctaphrax, which stores and analyzes our collective water data to produce information that we can use to be better stewards of this floating rock we call home.

Figure 1, Artist’s Impression of the WIT Architecture (From Edge Chronicles by Paul StewartChris Riddell, an excellent series of books for young and adult readers)

1.0 Maiden Voyage

In order to get to the WIT catacombs you must access a Skyship, in this case, the newly launched website! That’s correct, it’s live and ready to take your money. Climb aboard and peruse the Product Shoppe, wander the labyrinthine library of the Sounding Posts, or feast your eyes in the mess on the newly launched WIT Bento Box, hand-crafted by the stalwart Fenella Jacquet.

Figure 2. Artist’s impression of the Good Ship, the newly launched website, with flight rock (From Edge Chronicles by Paul StewartChris Riddell).

2.0 Watershed Information Tool (WIT): Amuse Bouche

The WIT is the evolution of the Salt Portal into what we’ve always hoped it could be. A place to hang out, process hydrometric data, and spend your (or your organization’s) hard earned cash. If you are like me, you could never get over the extortion-like business practices of the big hydrometric database management software co’s. So you have been handcrafting your own Excel workbooks and scripts, folder structures and naming conventions to a point where they are like a house of cards, ready to topple with another station or rating curve. You knew there was a better way, but it always seemed out of reach. Enter WIT, stage left, stumbling, not fully prepared, but in a fantastic Bento-Box inspired costume.

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WIT has been years in the making. It is built in Python Django, the same open-source framework of the Salt Portal. From the Bento Box shown above, we can the tools you already know and love: The SD Calc and CFT Calc tools for processing salt dilution measurements, the RC Tool and Grouding Tool, and the newly launched Kronos Time Series (KTS) Maximum Improbability Engine, which drives the Interactive Hydrograph in the WIT Pro service. Whereas the Salt Portal tools have time-series data, it’s disjointed and non-continuous. The KTS is a fast and powerful database interface to view, analyze, and modify your time series data, augmenting your existing toolchain. It ingests and… outputs.. .csv files so you never give up your data to the extortionists. We intend it to be able to incorporate user’s tools as well, or interact with user’s code through an API. But first, we need to get a steady revenue stream to support and grow the collective tool. So sign up now! Or tell us your plans and wishes! If you’d like to tour and try out the service, let me know and I’ll set up you up with a Beta account.

2.1 WIT-HM

The first part the the WIT meal has been served. It consists of:

  • SD-Calc is an online Salt Dilution Instream Q (SDIQ) processing tool to post-process and manage all SDIQs and CFTs.
  • CFT-Calc & Library allows you to calculate the Calibration Factor – Temperature compensated from raw measurement files OR use an average CF.T from site previous site visits. It also tells you the Expected CFT based on Richardson et al.
  • Rating Curve Segment Editor (RCSE) is a powerful rating curve development tool to generate Compound Rating Curves based on hydraulic principles, and manage them over the life of a hydrometric station.
  • The Grouding Tool is the Grouping + Grading tool to group Salt Dilution injections/flow measurements into a single Group with associated uncertainty and data grade.  This tool also allows you to export to Kister’s Wiski or Aquarius Time Series.
  • Kronos Time Series (KTS) is a time series database tool that will manage all time-series data, as well as convert your Rating Curve time series to a hydrograph using stage data.

These tools are currently available in Beta for you to taste, or better yet, sign up for! We are currently offering a 2022 discount of 20% until the end of the year, that’s $600 on the WIT-Pro subscription! This is an Initial Public Offering: the tools will only get better with time and subscribers. So please give them a spin and either purchase from the new store or send me an email. For those Pioneers that have already signed up and have been patiently waiting for the release, we’ll start to have bi-monthly meetup/hangouts starting in Jan 2023 where we can process your data and watch other people’s data get processed (and probably drink a pint). IF you sign up for the service, you will get up to 4 hours of QP (P.Eng.) oversight of your hydrometric program to send you on the way to a Grade A: Good Job! report.

In summary, Subscribe to the new WIT-HM Hydrometric Database Management system now and get a sweet discount, along with loads of helpful assistance from a QP (P.Eng) at no cost OR continue to struggle with overpriced solutions or clunky Excel spreadsheets. The first 10 subscribers get a FREE fathom t-shirt.

3.0 Public Events

This Bulletin Board outside the Towne Hall in Harlando shows important events and happenings in Fathomland. The events depicted within may or may not have happened. We take no responsibility for our words or actions in the following.

3.1 Nordic Hydrometry Workshop in Aviemore Scotland, Sep 28, 2022

Mikael brought his firestick up to his face in a threatening manner. “If this place loses heat, and a whiteout snowstorm hits, I’ll be be able to light these tables on fire to create heat and light. You’ll thank me.” I looked around at the warm glow on the faces of the attendees of the Nordic Hydrometry Workshop as they toured their Scotch Whiskies. The fireplace glowed and the raucous laugh of King Nick of Everard as he flit and fluttered from table to table added to the warm stew of humanity in the room.

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King Nick holds court with Erlend, Frode, and Line of the NVE Clan.

“I’m not sure if I’m attracted to her because of her knowledge of Scotch, or because she’s attractive,” pondered Eoin (pronounced Owen). Eoin had the misfortune of running into Mikael, Jenny and I as we tried to find the Flow Regatta participants. We then led him away from the participants and onto a circuitous loop of the Coylumbridge grounds and back to his original location/destination. No matter, Eoin had a love and aptitude for travel, and finding himself in interesting company; like when he showed up in Havana with a mandolin strapped to his back, and soon found himself in a Cuban band.

We all had come to be part of the Most Excellent Nordic Hydrometry Workshop and Whisky Crawl, in Aviemore Scotland, organized by the fair and formidable Kirsteen Tares. Kirsteen’s presence was so genial and calming, even the fates were supine to her wishes. Indeed the entire workshop went very smoothly and over 100 participants had a smooth and rewarding experience. Except one.. .

I knew Christoph Sommer was present when the shadows were sucked from the conference room and into the cold depths of his black coat and hat. I felt the strength and joy ebbing from my body. He smiled at me a knowing smile as he approached, “Hello Gabe,” he said, “it’s nice to see you again,” and as he grabbed my limp hand, I felt my lifeforce evaporate. “I understand you’ll be demonstrating your QComp calculation to us.” he leaned in and whispered to me “I look forward to that very much.” He smiled and released my hand, turning to greet King Nick, who was oblivious as I fell backwards into Jenny’s arms.

“What was that about?” she asked.

“It’s him, ” said Mikael, “That’s his nemesis and he used his superior mind powers to sap the strength from Gabe. Gabe is now a wet noodle, look at him! Here, he needs Kina puffs.” He took a handful of Kina Puffs from his jacket pocket and stuffed them into my mouth. I felt my strength returning. “You know, I could use my firestick here to light a fire in the conference hall, distracting the …”

“It’s ok, I just need to prepare for the regatta, ” and I stumbled from the conference hall to my room and blacked out.

When I awoke the next morning it was 8:55 and the regatta started at 9:00! I quickly made an aeropress with delicious beans from Grain and Grind, the best coffee shop in Inverness, and quickly drank it down. It was 9:10 and I was really late now, I dashed into the cafeteria and avoided the concierge (so as not to be seated), grabbed a raisin danish and an apple, then quickly back up to my room to grab the QiQuac, then smashed out the back door towards the river, just in time for 9:25.

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Christoph Sommer was in full swing when I arrived, demonstrating his excellent low-resolution equipment. Notice how nobody has shadows, but how black his pants are. He’d already cast his spell over the crowd, so I really had to make some noise.

“Hello! Good Morning, Sorry I’m late,” I said, stuffing the raisin danish in my mouth. “I’ll be demonstrating the QiQuac over here.”

“Good Morning, Gabe,” said Christoph with a sly grin, “how nice of you to join us. Still feeling the jet-lag?” A few of his cronies snickered and looked for his approval. “We are about to dump 10kg of salt into this flow.

“10kg! Are you trying to pickle the fish!?” I exclaimed. “All we need is 1kg!” there were a few gasps from the crowd, followed by murmurs.

“1 kg,” said Christoph, “Perhaps you use 1kg in your country where you are worried about what the authorities will say. But in Europe, we do as we wish. Go big or go home,” He high-fived his cronies.

“Well,” I said when the crowd turned back towards me, “Well, in Canada, we like to say Smaller is.. Superior.” and I whipped out my demure but totally adequately sized QiQuac kit. A few eyebrows were raised in the crowd. “It will fit in a backpack and even as carry-on luggage in an airplane. Plus..” and I turned on the QiQuac with a twist and push of the brass knob, “It quacks when it’s turned on.” Stephanie Moore sniggered at this, for some reason. “Can the Tracer Q do that!” I said and pointed accusingly at Christoph.

With eyelids half open, but with eyebrow raised, Christoph said, “No. Ours just works.”

Touché. The game was afoot.

River Druie SDIQ Locations. The Sommer TQ and QiQuac were in the same area.

The first injection mass was a compromise between our salt dosing requests, using 4kg. However, as can been seen in Figure 4 and Table 1, the mixing reach was not quite adequate at 171m to achieve complete mixing and the DQ (or Delta Q) between the CH0 (Upstream LB) and CH1 (Downstream RB) was 38% with an average of 4.61 cms and QComp of 4.45 cms. There is no SEPA hydrometric station on the Druie, but the previous day’s rainfall was likely on the falling limb. A hydrograph of the day from nearby Kinrara shows a falling hydrograph until 1pm, then rising. An RP30 measurement at the downstream bridge was 4.805 cms at 11:10 and 4.886cms at 15:58. The Streampro ADCP measured 5.0 cms and and RS5 measured 4.6 cms, I believe around noon. The Kinrara hydrograph and summary of measurements (provided by the rogue Paul Griffith, who skittered in and out of the public eye wearing provocative t-shirts) is shown below.

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Table 1. QQ Measurement summary
Paulgriffith Q Summary
Table 2. There is no clear consensus on the trend of the Druie throughout the day, but the average of all valid Q measurements (non-red) is 4.86 cms.
Kinrara Vs Druie 1

For the second SDIQ, we again injected 4.0kg, but went upstream of the braided reach 391m upstream of our probes. This SDIQ resulted in a Grade A measurement of 5.05 cms and DQ of 3.8%.

In the afternoon, I challenged Christoph to see “How low can you go?” and we injected 1kg of salt at the further upstream location for the 3rd SDIQ. This time, the Sommer TQ (which does not take into account a changing BG ECT) resulted in lower Q values of 4.8 cms and 4.7cms. When I processed the Upstream BGECT probe data there was a small bump in the data, that results in a larger Q of 4.91 cms, very close to the higher dose SDIQ of 5.05cms. This can be seen in the image below.

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In the 3rd injection of 1kg, we can see a “bump” in the U/S BG EC.T data. If it is not taken into account, the area under the curve is larger, resulting in a smaller Q.

For the 4th and final injection of the day, we injected 4kg at the incomplete mixing site at 171m upstream. Christoph placed his 4 probes with approximately equal Q over each probe. I placed the QQ probes similarly but didn’t have a cable long enough to reach the opposite shore, so I used the Sommer TQ Channel A probe to augment my probe ensemble (although I assure you our kit is totally adequate, and quacks! Stop sniggering Stephanie!) The results from this 4th incomplete mixing injection were encouraging! The QComp from the TQ ensemble was 4.95cms and 4.72cms from the QQ Ensemble.

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The 4th injection, if QComp is used, results in a QComp of 4.71cms (or 4.91cms from Sommer’s TQ probes)

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This closeup of the BGECT (purple) shows a small bump that was in the upstream data signal.

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The 2nd injection of 4kg and 391m upstream resulted in a Grade A SDIQ of 5.05cms

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The first injection of 4kg 171m upstream was incompletely mixed.

Overall, we proved, beyond a doubt, that

  1. using lower dosing (down to 200g/cms) can achieve accurate measurements IF you take into account the Upstream Background ECT over the duration of the measurement,
  2. using QComp results in very reasonable results when probes are placed with approximately 1/n of the flow over each of the n probes, and
  3. both kits can achieve satisfactory results when in the hands of an expert user, careful attention is paid to the watercourse conditions, and the injection of salt is sufficiently upstream. (Stephanie please stop sniggering at the back of the room!)

After the final presentations (where Kirsteen received a standing ovation) we all headed outside for a group photo.

Nordic Workshop 2022 Group Photo 2

As we collected out things, Christoph walked towards me. I saw my shadow as it fled my feet and was absorbed into the darkness of Christoph’s Sommer brand storm rider oil-skin long jacket. He flicked the brim of his dark oilskin hat, “Gabe,” he began. The coffee mug with the remnants of Coylumbridge brand coffee sludge fell from my hand and singed the earth where it fell. Mikael and Jenny both saw the situation and sidled over to me.

“It appears that QComp is not just another figment of your imagination, as this story you’re writing is,” he said, and his slate grey eyes pierced through mine and out the back of my head. Jenny stood behind me and Mikael readied his firestick and looked at some tinder dry pinecones. The sound of tinny mechanical dinosaurs roared in the background as darkness began to creep into the peripheral of my vision.

“It was nice to see you again,” and he took my limp hand. Strangely, miraculously, warmth flowed through his hand. He smiled and said, “Until we meet again.” He turned and left, and as he did, the shadows returned to their rightful owners. Mikael saw his chance was fleeting and he quickly started showering sparks from his firestick onto the nearest pile of kindling.

“No, Mike, it’s ok!” I said, grabbing his arms.

“I will save you, Gabe, don’t worry, I’ve constructed a crude shelter in the hills not far from here. We can live off the land comfortably for months, but first we must start… this … fire, Let go of me!”

“Mike, it’s alright, he’s gone, and.. he might be … human.”

“Impossible,” said Mike, “He’s hypnotized you, Jenny, I’m going to knock him out, stand behind him.”

“Until we meet again.” I whispered, then I felt the full impact of Mike’s hammer-like fist. Blackness.

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3.2 NASH Salt Dilution Workshop in Renfrew Ravine, Vancouver, Nov 29, 2022

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Andre Zimmerman demonstrates the outdated and unused constant rate injection method. I am the shadowy stranger in the corner of the tavern.

The 1st NASH Salt Dilution workshop took place at Renfrew Ravine in Vancouver on Nov 29, 2022. A collection of local folk hoping to learn more about the wonderous new method (about 100 years old now) called Salt Dilution gauging. But perhaps what is more wonderous is why it is not more ubiquitous. It’s fast, accurate, easy, and if you keep your dosing low, environmentally benign(reference conspicuously absent). Robin Pike was on hand, incognito, to keep tabs on how much salt we were injecting. The Legendary Hydrologist formerly known as Dan Moore (now just ξ or xi, pronounced ksi or k-sy) was present to give a non-biased presentation of the method, free from the taint of commercial interests. And proudly representing the underbelly of society, the scourge of humanity, and the self-serving interests of industry was me and… (dun dun dun) Christoph Sommer.

If you recall from the previous episode, I was left confused by the apparent good will of my arch nemesis. Perhaps I’d made up all of the slights, curses, and attempts on my life. Maybe, just maybe, Christoph was a… nice…guy? The thought seemed impossible and I could hear Mikael telling me to “Snap out of it, man, he’s got you on the ropes, we need to find something to light on fire, ” but the forest was quite damp and I had no fire stick. So I simply proceeded in a vigilant, but open, manner.

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Artist’s Impression of QiQuac Highlander

Renfrew Ravine is an urban runoff site, despite the pastoral scene. With a background conductivity on the order of 230 µS/cm, there are large swings in BGECT over the course of a measurement. This was a case for the Highlander. The Highlander (named in honour of SEPA who inspired it) includes a 3rd U/S sensor to monitor, and transform, BGECT to the D/S site. It proved very helpful on this day.

The first injection was 100g, the second was 200g (Robin: “I think you overdosed.” Gabe “But I feel fine?”) and both had a mixing reach of about 95m. The 3rd and 4th injections were just into the downstream culvert, with the EC.T probes at the culvert outfall. These injections moved much faster. There had been a light rainstorm earlier and the flows were on the rise over the course of the measurement. The results are summarized in Table 3.

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Table 3. Four injections were made, with an average of 0.39cms and Co-efficient of Variation of +/-5%. There was a rising trend over the day.

If the changing BG.ECT is considered, then the area under the curve is generally smaller, and Q larger. This was at odds with the Flow Tracker 2 measurement taken earlier of only 32 l/s. However the water level was rising reference not found.

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If no 3rd U/S signal chosen, the Q is 53lps, much larger than the 32 lps measured with the FT2 downstream.

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When the 3rd U/S sensor is added (this time just D/S of the 2nd injection) it appears uncorrelated..

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But when transformation in x(time), y(EC.T) and ω (frequency) are used, we see the BG.ECT dropped quite far below the D/S signal. Also note how the spike of the 2nd injection starts to resemble what was measured D/S. This results in a Q of 40lps on this probe.

The QiQuac Highlander measurements were all within 7% (Grade A: Good Job!) of each other after post-processing. While it’s possible to achieve this in the field with the Highlander, it’s not so easy. There’s a lot of math happening in the background and, like us, the QiQuac has trouble with a lot of math when it’s cold, there’s a lot going on, and people are watching.

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At the pub after the event, I sat next to Christoph and we shared our love of sport (he represented Austria in hockey as a youth, I represented Bowen Island in football/soccer as a non-youth), travel, and Japan in particular. It was a strangely enjoyable evening, and I was left wondering.. “Do I need a new arch nemesis?” and out of the corner of my eye, I saw the Pontiff Jon Jeffery glaring at me, his hand on the RISC bible…

To be continued..

3.3 Flow Regatta at EGU in Vienna, Austria, April 2023

If you recall, the last time we met in Vienna (in 2018!), there was an epic battle of wits, witless, good, bad, opportunistic, amoral, and agnostic. Hope was lost and the thrill of hydrometric victory was gained. King Nick won over the crowd, crowned himself winner, and all in all, we all had a great time over beer and schnitzel (except those disqualified). Well, Salvador, Christoph, and I are doing it all over again. This spring, in April (dates tbd) we are planning on holding another Flow Regatta and Biergarten Crawl. Stay tuned for more details.

3.4 The Opening, Feb 2023

“What is that bizarre feature Image?” you ask. In line with the Resonance philosophy to enrich our collective creative lives, we are working on a live-action/stop-motion short film called Openings. It features a culvert, a well, a ring, pop-tarts, karate fights, Carlos, Olesia, Calico Critters, and more! Watch for the Kickstarter campaign coming in January 2023, and premiere in February 2023. Here are some snapshots:

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4.0 Summary Pitch and Festive Holiday Wishes

We at Fathom Scientific Ltd wish to wish you a Festive Holiday Time. Remember to remember your loved ones, and try to try not to think of work. But before you power down for the season, think about signing up for the WIT service. It’s still early days, but we do intend to take down both Aquatic Info-matics and Kistsers. So signing up for our service, at a measly $3000/year (on sale for $2400! until the end of 2022) is the best way to air your grievances with them. Even if you don’t intend to use it, signing up will A) declare your independence from the hydrometric mafia and B) Help the Good Ship Fathom in Charting New Waters. We have many new ventures planned for 2023 including a NEW! FECC (Four Electrode Conductivity Cell, always start with the acronym and work backwards is our motto), BETTER! QiQuac Mobile App, and CHEAPER! QiQuac Fee-oh standalone bluetooth transponder with multi-lingual quacking. The AutoQAc system gets better and more automated all the time. Check out recent installs and in-process RCs here.

As the year winds down, and the holiday spirit rises, I’d like to offer a heartfelt thank you for all those that have supported us, and a festive hug for the holiday season. Even for you Christoph.. Come here you..

Love your pal/vendor,

Contact Us

We offer custom solutions to hydrometric and hydrological problems. We are keen to hear about particular solutions you might require. For more information, or a quote, please contact us using the form below.