Surface Water Specialists

Knight Piésold has provided technical expertise, planning and design services for hundreds of projects requiring detailed hydrologic studies.  Our engineers and scientists are experienced with a variety of state-of-the-art data collection, analytical and numerical models and techniques for collecting, interpreting and estimating hydrologic values.

We provide specialist technical expertise in data collection and analysis, flood plain management, water quality issues, analytical and numerical modeling, erosion control and sedimentation.

Hydrologic Data Collection

Having good quality hydrologic data is fundamental to making sound hydrological evaluations that form the foundation of all water resource project assessments and developments.  Knight Piésold has extensive experience in the installation, operation, and maintenance of stream gauging stations, which includes site selection, the application of numerous flow measurement techniques, and the development of rating curves.  We are currently operating stations and collecting and managing data for hundreds of rivers and streams all over the world.

Knight Piésold has developed the FULCRUM web-based environmental data management system that has a number of different specialized modules, including one tailored specifically for the storage, management and processing of stream gauging data.  This system has many features designed to facilitate streamflow data collection and management, including web access that permits field personnel to upload data, and view and process all information in the system from remote locations.  All information, including photos, field notes, and datalogger files, must be entered into the system according to a defined structure that enhances QA/QC procedures, and any changes to the database can immediately and concurrently be viewed by personnel and/or clients in multiple locations.

Hydrologic Analyses

Hydrologic analyses involve the use of hydrometeorologic data to develop hydrologic estimates for specific applications and purposes, including engineering design and aquatic resource evaluation.  Knight Piésold uses a wide variety of standardized and state of the art techniques including water balance and watershed models, regression modeling, and frequency analyses, to estimate a full suite of hydrologic parameters for drainage basins in locations throughout the world.  Examples include return period extreme peak flows and low flows, annual hydrographs, and continuous long-term synthetic flow series.


The proper hydraulic design, construction and maintenance of water structures are fundamental to the success of all hydropower and mining projects.  Knight Piesold’s talented team of hydraulic engineers has the experience and technical expertise to handle any challenge, including diversion ditches, sediment control ponds, sophisticated run-of-river intakes designed to exclude sediment and debris, high head pumping systems for both water and slurry, hydraulic transient analyses for a variety hydropower turbines, and emergency spillways on small and large dams.

River Morphology

River morphology is the result of a dynamic relationship between water discharge, sediment supply and external topographic controls.  These processes produce a wide variety of channel forms that influence flood water levels and channel stability, affect water quality, and provide habitat for aquatic organisms. 

Knight Piésold is a multi-disciplinary firm that combines expertise in engineering and environmental science to provide comprehensive solutions to problems associated with water resources development and river morphology.  Key fields of experience include hydrology, hydraulics, fluvial geomorphology and aquatic biology.

Services provided include:

  • Assessments of anticipated effects on sediment transport, channel geometry, and aquatic habitat due to upstream project developments, including hydroelectric storage dams, run-of-river hydroelectric diversion structures and open-pit mines
  • Hydraulic characterization of aquatic habitat and instream flow requirement studies to support post-development streamflow management
  • Channel stability assessment on floodplains and alluvial fans to support project layout; and
  • Detailed sediment transport, deposition and scour analysis to support engineering design of water intakes, bridges, flood and erosion mitigation works, fish habitat restoration projects, and whitewater recreation enhancement projects.

River Basin Planning

Waters in river basins have multiple demands, including flood and drought control, ecological needs, irrigation, public water supply, energy use (cooling or hydroelectric), agriculture, recreation and other uses.  Knight Piésold conducts basin assessments and develops a thorough understanding of the basin hydraulic regime, hydrology and river morphology.  We assist federal, regional and local government entities, and private companies.  Through analysis and computer modeling of the available water resource, and the multiple water user requirements, we develop comprehensive plans to maintain ground water levels, stream flows, and water quality and quantity. Our analysis and advice helps key community leaders and decision makers meet the ever changing multiple priorities and demands.