Temporary V Notch Weirs for Culverts

Introduction: Temporary V Notch Weirs for Culverts

A weir is placed in a stream to determine the flow rate of a stream. A weir may be a simple metal plate with a V-notch cut into it. A weir backs the water up, causing a spill over the notch. The height of this spill way is related to the flow rate of the stream.

Permanent installation of a weir requires extensive permitting and may have negative effects on a stream’s ecology.

We developed this alternative that can be clamped onto a culvert, used to record flow rates and then removed.

We use a number of "V" notch weirs to measure stream flows in the Yukon.


  • 12 gauge galvanized metal - Two pieces 18 inches by 3 feet for the 3 foot culvert and 2 feet by 4 feet for the 4 foot culvert.
  • flat bar for brackets (6 pieces, 1/8 by 3/4 inch flat bar, six inches long)
  • carriage bolts. washers and butterfly nuts
  • self tapping metal screws
  • ensolite (closed-cell foam)
  • contact cement

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Step 1: Forming the "V" Notch to Fit the Culvert

We cut a 45 degree angle with the 45 degree cut starting about 30 cm from the edge of the sheet metal and cut the metal to fit over the opening of 3' and 4' culverts.

Weld the two sections together to form a 90 degree "V"

Step 2: Culvert Brackets

Make 6 brackets 6 inches long, from 3/4 by 1/8 inch flat bar. Bend the flat bar at two inches from one end.

Drill the 2 inch section with a 5/16 drill at the mid point. Then measure the 4 inch part against the culvert so that holes in this section fall on the ridges. Drill 5/16 holes in the brackets at these locations.

Weld a 5/16 by 3" carriage bolt on to the short part of the bracket so that the bolts face the holes in the "V" weir.

Step 3: Reducing Water Leaks

Use contact cement to fix ensolite to the back of the weir, this will reduce leakage around the weir once in place.

Step 4: Attaching the Brackets to the Culvert

Screw the brackets into the outside of the culvert using self-drilling self-tapping metal screws so the bracket is set back 1/2 inch from the lip of the culvert.

Hold the 12 gauge sheet metal weir against the metal flanges to mark the hole locations then drill 7/16 holes at these locations.

Step 5: Fastening the Weir to the Culvert

Place the weir so that the bolts from the hinges stick out the holes in the weir.

Use washers and butterfly nuts to tighten the weir against the culvert lip.

Once in place, measure the height of the water passing over the v-notch to accurately determine the stream flow rate.

Our weirs were marked with 1 cm graduations to measure the height of the flow. For more information on calculating the flow rate please see http://www.yukonenvirothon.com/hydrologic-calculations.html

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    5 Discussions


    3 years ago

    could you please include some pictures of the brackets and how they are attached to the pipe.

    It is hard to tell from the pictures what the graduated measurements on the wiers are and what the spacing for the measurements are. some details would be appreciated.


    Reply 3 years ago

    Hi Lorddrake

    The pictures of the brackets are shown on the photo of the stream coming out of the culvert. THey are made from 1/8 by 3/4 inch flat bar, six inches long, bent in the middle then drilled to accept the bolts that hold the "V" notch weir in place.

    The graduations are in cm and give a direct relation between flow rate and height of the water spilling over the weir.


    Reply 3 years ago

    ahhh i mistook the brackets for leaves in that picture the first time around. thanks for clarifying.

    How many gallons per minute is one cm equal to?


    Reply 3 years ago

    thanks again