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Non-Contact discharge radar and AI revolutionize flood warning and water management

January 30, 2024

KISTERS continues to set new standards in environmental monitoring with the proven success of the RQ-30 non-contact discharge radar. This advanced technology heralds a paradigm shift in water management, enabling precise, real-time streamflow measurements in a wide array of settings, from open channels and rivers to industrial conduits.

At a time when climate change presents unprecedented challenges, the RQ-30 embodies our company values of overcoming challenges with a passion for innovation and partnership. By circumventing the need for pre-existing rating curves, the sensor instantly delivers discharge data upon activation. This breakthrough optimizes limited field staff and time, reducing the need for multiple years of initial data collection. The technology also scales easily, allowing organizations to expand monitoring networks without prohibitive costs.

“The RQ-30 represents a quantum leap in our efforts to provide reliable, real-time data for managing our planet’s water resources,” said Peter Ward, KISTERS Senior Product Specialist who introduced the technology to the U.S. market in 2013.

“Immediate data availability and accuracy are critical for agencies to respond swiftly to environmental changes, especially in crisis situations such as flash floods,” he commented.

Key benefits of the RQ-30 non-contact discharge radar:

  • Occupational safety
    Mount the device on bridges or channel superstructures to protect hydrographers and hydrologic technicians, particularly during extreme weather events. Personnel neither stand in water or on banks.
  • Operational superiority
    With real-time processing, the RQ-30 negates the multi-year setup of stage-discharge ratings. Hydrologists and consultants can adapt more swiftly to environmental fluctuations.
  • Data integrity
    The RQ-30 transcends traditional stage-discharge capabilities. It adeptly captures complex flow patterns such as hysteresis and backwater effects to provide consistently reliable data, even under challenging hydrologic conditions.
  • Cost-savings
    Low-maintenance requirements and minimal site visits after installation result in significant operational efficiencies and reduced costs. Designed to be low profile, the unit eliminates unwanted attention from potential vandals.

Field-proven Technology

KISTERS has demonstrated the effectiveness of contactless discharge measurement in improving emergency management coordination across local, state and federal agencies. Ten solar-powered RQ-30 units have been deployed along a busy interstate corridor, forming the backbone of an autonomous monitoring network. Since 2019 the robust system of bridge-mounted sensors has consistently delivered critical flow data to inform flood forecasting and discourage dangerous low-water crossings.

More than a tool, the RQ-30 is a sentinel. It keeps watch 24/7 for water management professionals tasked with protecting lives and preserving resources in an evolving climate.

The RQ-30 is quickly becoming the modern, preferred choice for flow measurement and flood forecasting. The non-contact innovation delivers on KISTERS vision of empowering decision-makers with dependable information that yields benefits today and tomorrow. Read a use case at

Learn more about the transformative impact of non-contact radar at