discussion / East Africa Community  / 6 June 2023

River Monitoring Sensors

Looking for River Monitoring sensors. 

We are looking to monitor the below items;

  • River depth and water level, 
  • The velocity of the river and flow rates
  • Water volume of the river at the area monitored

We would like to have the sensors deployed at the river to record and send the data at set intervals. Lora sensors would be preferred but  GSM and satellite based ones are also welcome.


Hi Kennedy! I haven't yet monitored water level, flow, and volume myself, but I know that some partners I have at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the University of Minnesota use the Level TROLL 500 Data Logger and the HOBO Water Level Data Logger. I think TROLL pairs readily with GSM or satellite connectivity, while the HOBO is just a leave behind sensor with the advantage of a lower cost. 

The USGS folks only measure water level continuously and use this measurement to back out flow rate. My understanding is that you can characterize a body of water's flow rate from its level, and you might also be able to do something simialr for water volume. I'm an engineer and so don't understand the intricacies of these measurements, but I'd be happy to put you in touch with USGS folks to provide more detail.

Hi Kennedy, this is Ben from the USGS. There are many ways to monitor stream flow, but most are expensive and time-consuming. We have recently come up with an alternative that uses cameras and images combined with AI to estimate relative flow. There is a growing database here: 


Feel free to get in touch if this seems like it could help, Ben at [email protected]

Would you consider using LoRaWAN technology? 

LoRaWAN features super low power consumption and ultra-long-range communication, very suitable for the wild :) 

One LoRaWAN gateway can connect to up to 200 sensors within the range of 2km to 10km (depending on the environment and antenna etc.) 

You can check out the combination of the following: 

(1) liquid level sensor  + LoRaWAN data logger  

(2) LoRaWAN outdoor gateway