Hydrometry for Inchdairnie Distillery

Location: Fife, Scotland                                                                                Client: Inchdairnie Distillery


Inchdairnie Distillery wanted to use water from local watercourses as a source of process water. However, these watercourses have very small catchment areas (< 0.5 km2) and theoretical methods of water quantity estimation can be limited for such small catchments. An alternative source of data was required to help in abstraction optioneering.


Field hydrometry was used. Continuous water level recorders were installed on the two watercourses (the Flowers of May and Goat Milk) and water level data logged at a 15 minute intervals over a 12 month period. Spot flow gaugings were undertaken using both a current meter and timed volumetric measurement. Stage discharge relationships (rating curves) were also developed at both locations to allow the water level data to be converted to flow. Analysis of the resulting flow data was then undertaken, including the development of the flow duration curves.

Flow data taken from Flowers of May


Comparison of the field values with those obtained from desk based methods showed that the desk based methods overestimated the field measurements. The implication for abstraction in these particular small catchments that the desk based method identified would have resulted in a higher pass forward and environmental flows. The use of field hydrometry and flow statistics allowed more realistic data to be obtained and used in outline abstraction design. The information was also used to help support the successful application for an abstraction licence from SEPA.

Want to know more?

For more information about this project please contact David Cameron.

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