Office for Technology Commercialization

Confined-space Reservoir Orifice Flow (CRO-Flow) Measurement Technique

Technology #2019-242

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Water flow and quality measurement device installed in a roadside catch basin
Bruce Wilson, PhD
Professor, Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering
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Lawrence Baker, PhD
Research Professor, Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering
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Managed By
Doug Franz
Technology Licensing Officer 612-624-0869
Patent Protection

Provisional Patent Application Filed

Real-time Water Flow and Quality Monitoring Device

This technology is a hydrologic flow measurement device that can be deployed in confined spaces such as the roadside catch basins or outfalls from rooftops. Equipped with integrated sensors, this device can provide real-time data on flow conditions, sediment trapping, temperature, and water quality. The device can be applied to stormwater or meltwater monitoring in roadside catch basins (i.e., at the drain inlet) to be used for adaptive management of flood hazards, excessive chemical pollutants, sediment trapping, etc. Deployed at several locations and incorporated into an Internet of Things (IoT) network, real-time data acquired from these devices can be used to monitor and plan city-wide water management systems more efficiently.

Confined Space Reservoir Orifice Flow Meter

Stormwater/meltwater flow and quality measurement in confined spaces is hard to achieve as sediments and debris can cause damage to the sensors, increasing its cost of maintenance and outages. This new device is designed to handle the high amount of sediments and debris in roadside catch basins. The design of the water outlet provides differential flow rate, making the device suitable for different water flow conditions. The modular design of the device facilitates easy maintenance and addition of new sensing components. Data collected by the device can either be stored on-site or transmitted to remote locations where the data can be monitored and analyzed in real-time.

Phase of Development

Working prototype built and tested.


  • Real-time monitoring of stormwater/meltwater
  • Real-time pollution data available to decision makers
  • Reduce sensor maintenance cost
  • Distributed monitoring at the source


  • Compact device fits in confined spaces such as roadside stormwater catch basins
  • High capacity for trapping sediments
  • Scalable based on site requisites
  • Sediment trapping/monitoring


  • Smart city management
  • Monitor snowmelt efficiency in snowfall-prone regions
  • Water quality monitoring
  • Monitor sediments from erosion-prone zones
  • Adaptive management of flood hazards

Ready for Licensing

This technology is now available for license! The university is excited to partner with industry to see this innovation reach its potential. Please contact Kevin Nickels to share your business’ needs and your licensing interests in this technology. The license is for the sale, manufacture or use of products claimed by the patents.