March 2, 2020

River Levels

24 Hour River Levels Summary

Gauge Minimum Median Mean Maximum
River Browney - Burn Hall 0.137 0.141 0.141 0.145
River Wear - Chester-Le-Street 0.368 0.371 0.371 0.377
Smallhope Burn - Lanchester Front Street 0.242 0.248 0.248 0.255
River Wear - Stanhope 0.259 0.27 0.271 0.289
River Gaunless - South Church 0.108 0.111 0.11 0.113
River Wear - Sunderland Bridge 0.31 0.316 0.318 0.328
River Wear - Witton Park 0.355 0.367 0.366 0.379
River Wear - Durham New Elvet Bridge 0.254 0.258 0.259 0.265

Frequently Asked Questions

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What is the purpose of this graph?

This graph aggregates the river levels monitored by the Environment Agency. In particular it includes the gauges that are most relevant to the current and future levels that will be experienced at Durham Amateur Rowing Club. It can help inform risk assessments/decisions regarding whether it is likely to be safe to use the river.

How do I read the graph?

The primary river levels of interest are:

  • New Elvet Bridge approximately 1000 metres downstream of Durham ARC. The level recorded here is virtually the same as that experienced at Durham ARC.
  • Sunderland Bridge around a mile upstream of Durham ARC. Any changes of level here will be reflected at Durham ARC within an hour or so.

In addition to the above levels further upstream in both the Wear, Gaunless and Browney are shown. All of these contribute to the levels at Sunderland Bridge and New Elvet. The delay from each to New Elvet varies but a rough rule of thumb is that any changes at Stanhope will take around 6 hours to reach Durham. The others are somewhere between 3 and 6 hours.

We also show the river level at Chester-le-Street because they are of interest to the rowing community. Chester-le-Street levels change roughly 3 hours after Durham New Elvet.

Be warned that the absolute levels at each station are not directly comparable. A rise of 50cm may result in a rise of more or less at other stations. Similarly the steady state levels again are different at each monitoring station.

What matters is the fact that a rise or fall at an upstream station will have an effect downstream and you should be prepared for that. The level at each station is also affected by other tributaries and run-off from land. Hence localised rain/conditions can also have effects that might not show on upstream graphs.

Always err on the side of caution when a rise in river levels is likely. The river can rise very quickly!

What are the Durham ARC boating limits?

The Durham ARC Rules of the River restrict boating in two stages. These are shown on the graph along with the river level when it covers the landing stages. These levels are all relative to the New Elvet Bridge readings.

  • Landing Stages - at this level the landing stages are covered with water and feet will get wet when boating.
  • Novice/Young Juniors Limit - corresponding to the height where the concrete wall on the right of the steps (when facing towards the river) is covered. Above this limit younger juniors and inexperienced crews are not allowed to go afloat.
  • Overall Limit - corresponding to the river height where the concrete wall on the left of the steps (when facing towards the river) is covered. Above this level no crews are allowed to go afloat.
  • University Limit - The limit set by Durham University for their College/University crews. Above this limit Durham University/College crews are not allowed to go afloat. Note this is not a Durham ARC limit but is included for the convenience of our friends on the river.
Should I trust this data?

The monitored river levels do not give a full assessment of the likely conditions that will be experienced. In addition there can be delays and inaccuracies in collecting data from the EA website. Please check direct on that site if in doubt.

What rivers are included?

River level data is sourced from the Environment Agency and is used under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

Some data is missing why is that?

The gauges only update their readings infrequently. Many gauges only update 2 or 3 times a day. For the most part we can backfill data when this update occurs but in the meantime we cannot show recent data for that gauge. Similarly for historical data we can only present what was published at the time and have no way of filling in any gaps.