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Monitoring flow in open channels like canals and rivers to better understand and manage water resources.

Affordable, Reliable Open Channel Flow Monitoring in Canals and Rivers

Open channel flow monitoring is an important measurement for organizations that manage rivers and canals. Installing a flow meter at critical junctures allows water managers to understand resource availability and usage patterns throughout the year. Its important that they react in a timely manner to conditions such as flooding or drought. Municipalities, landowners, farmers, and home owners all depend on open channel flow monitoring to carefully manage one of our most important resources.

An open channel flow meter usually consists of a level sensor placed over or in an engineered structure called a weir. The flow of water through a weir can be easily measured because the height of the water is proportional to flow. This crucial measurement, when taken at different places throughout a river or canal system, tells water managers where, when, and by whom water is being used.

Simply knowing how your water is being used can help governments and municipalities balance the needs of agriculture with those of residents while also conserving water. This is especially important during a drought.

One of the most reliable and least expensive ways to install open channel flow meters is with ControlByWeb controller. Our programmable I/O modules are great for data logging, alerts, calculations, and remote monitoring and now feature native cellular connectivity and cloud access.

Ideal Rural & Remote Monitoring Station
  • Low cost
  • Very reliable
  • Cellular telemetry
  • Cloud access included
  • Data logging, remote access, email alerts
  • Smartphone app
open channel flow cellular monitoring station

Common Open Channel Flow Problems

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Water companies and municipalities, especially in rural locations, often operate on a small budget that prohibits even small expenses.

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Water managers and their crews often lack the expertise to install or operate a complex monitoring solution and can't afford an integrator.

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Failure Rate

Complex solutions often result in failure due to a lack of understanding or an inability to maintain the system.

ControlByWeb™ Solutions

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Low Cost

Our stand-alone I/O modules are priced very competitively and work independently, without the need for expensive infrastructure.

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Easy Setup & Install

Simple drop-down menus and easy form fills are all you need to program our modules. No coding required.

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Reliable Durability

Our industrial-grade products are known for consistent, reliable performance over many years with little-to-no maintenance.

How ControlByWeb® Works


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Case Study: Blacksmith Fork Irrigation Company

Blacksmith Fork Irrigation Company is a non-profit based in Northern Utah serving a mixed area of agricultural and residential customers. The area was in the beginning of a drought during the summer of 2020 and had been struggling with the cost of monitoring flows reliably.

With a small budget and desperate need for reliability, the odds were stacked against the rural non-profit. The company identified and tested a few potential solutions, but all failed. With the help of a volunteer engineer, David Olsen, the irrigation company came to ControlByWeb. David showed them the X-404C Cellular Modbus Master Controller, which offered the ideal blend of affordability, reliability, and simplicity for remote locations.

This solution had several advantages:

  • At the cost of a few hundred dollars instead of a few thousand, it was very affordable. The cellular modem gave them a quick way to check current conditions and react in real time without the high cost of connecting the Internet to each station.
  • The ControlByWeb device was user friendly. Installation and set up was simple, required little coding, and the included cloud service (at no additional cost) made device access easy. Any staff member or technician can understand, troubleshoot and operate the measurement stations with just a little guidance.
  • The X-404C was very reliable. The first priority for ControlByWeb is industrial-grade reliability. In fact, since the installation in the summer of 2020, David tells us the monitoring system has worked without a single problem.

The X-404C reads the sensor data from the weir, calculates flow, and publishes it via the ControlByWeb Cloud for his community to see. David installed the cellular controller and level sensors to run on a solar charged battery. You can check out two of his flow monitoring stations here:

David's experience as an engineer meant that he knew the right solution when he saw it. Installation was quick and came just in time for a drought that has only intensified. Now the Blacksmith Fork Irrigation Company has an open channel flow solution that any of their staff can understand and operate.

Contact us to discuss which controller is best for your restaurant automation needs.

Open channel flow monitoring housing for open channel flow weir

Six Reasons Why You Should Choose ControlByWeb®

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Industrial-Grade Reliability Is Our First Priority

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Scalable Solutions for any Industrial Application

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Cost Effective, Self-Contained I/O Devices

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Flexible Communications and Compatibility

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Responsive Support and Thorough Documentation

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Founded in 1999 and Manufactured in the USA

Open Channel Flow Monitoring Kit

Remote Open Channel Flow Monitoring

Best kit for reducing upfront expenses by using cellular internet connectivity to extend networking to remote sites.

Items in Kit:

  • X-404C Cellular Modbus Master Controller
    • Embedded Cellular Modem: No need to integrate third-party program networking technology
    • Built for Modbus Sensor Monitoring: Monitor and control up to 32 Modbus sensors/devices
    • Task Builder: No-code logic programming with easy-to-use drop down menus
  • VEGAPULS C 21 Non-Guided Radar | 4 relays, 4 digital inputs
    • Digital Inputs: Monitor freezer door status, lock status, and more
    • Relays: Schedule shutoff for cooking equipment. Control lights, magnetic locks, etc
  • Mounting Bracket | Radar sensor mounting bracket
  • Power Supply | Powers the X-404 and radar sensor

Product Comparison for Open Channel Flow

Name X-404C X-420 X-418
# of I/O Supported
Monitor sensors
Up to 32
Modbus sensors & devices
4 analog inputs, 2 digital I/O
8 analog inputs
1-Wire Temperature Sensors
Sold separately
Up to 16 Up to 16 -
Sensor Compatibility
No coding required
Modbus RS-485 Analog
Voltage, Milliamp
Voltage, Milliamp
Cellular Connectivity
Cellular price may not be reflected
- -
Price $499.99
Cellular data plans sold separately
$369.99 $369.99
More Information More Information More Information

Frequently Asked Questions


Any Modbus RS-485 or analog level sensor will do. Radar and ultrasonic are popular. Our 400 Series units are all capable of Basic scripts that can perform flow calculations.


Yes! The ControlByWeb Cloud is a great way to get your sensor data online. Our cellular units (X-404C, X-400C) include a cloud subscription with their cell data plans so you can access your readings online at no additional cost. You can also setup remote Internet access without using the cloud. Simply use port-forwarding to access your device directly via the Internet. Our mobile app also helps you remotely access your ControlByWeb devices.


You can do this with our CBW Mobile app. You'll need to connect your devices to the Internet for remote viewing either through the ControlByWeb Cloud, or by using port forwarding to make your device available online. For additional information on viewing the control page on your smartphone, read this support article.


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