So I want to measure water level under a bridge, or inside the city drain.
Would it be possible to run two long (4 meter) metal probes, each one enclosed inside a PVC pipe, and placed one next to the other separated by a few cm, and use that as a capacitive sensor? I know it works on a small scale (two insulated PCB pieces inside a water bottle). But will that work on a bigger scale?
The idea is that the metal probes work as a capacitor, and as water level increases and occupies the space between the two PVC pipes, capacitance should change.
Would it be better to make the probes out of copper foil ? I would prefer 2" x 3/16 steel bars just to make it more rugged, but don't know if that would affect the electronics.
The sensor will be read with an Arduino + http://playground.arduino.cc//Main/CapacitiveSensor?from=Main.CapSense
I also have an ultrasonic sensor, but another application for this would be to put it inside a hole (drain) that sometimes gets flooded (there is a chance that the sensor gets wet).