I need to calculate(estimate) hydraulic head(elevation drop) along a single river stream in order to find potential site for small hydropower plant.

I have a DEM with 20m resolution and raster and vector format of the stream.

Can anybody help me how can I do that with ArcGIS tools or in some other way?

3 Answers 3


If you have ArcGIS 10 and the 3D Analyst, you could use the "Add Surface Information Tool". It populates the attribute table of the Polyline Feature Class/Shapefile with basic elevation and slope statistics.


you can use the Interpolate Shape tool to interpolate the Z values into the streams.

Once you have all the z-aware feature class, you can then add 4 fields, one for x, one for Y & one for the Z coordinate. Use calculate Geometry to populate these values.

You can get the Z values that way. You can even graph these values, so as to get a visual profile. For this, I would suggest that you add one more field called distance, and populate it using the field calculator as (X^2 +Y^2)^0.5. You can plot Z values v/s Distance to get a nice looking profile.


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Creates a table and optional graph denoting the profile of line features over one or more multipatch, raster, TIN, or terrain surfaces (ArcGIS Help, 2015).

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