Using a laser distance sensor to measure water level

I am planning to build a device which will monitor the water level in a river. The sensor will be attached on a bridge above the river. Since the distance between the sensor and the water level will be around 50 feet, I am considering to use a laser distance sensor like this.

I am worried it might not detect water surface but the water is not clear and it has brown color.

I look forward to your suggestion and advice.

Thanks in advance.

Try it and let us know how well it works.

Eh, doubt a LiDAR unit will detect water level reliably, but no hurt in trying. Detecting levels of fluid is usually done with capacitive sensors at different heights.

I have tested a LIDAR to detect the surface of water. It turned out the water needs to be dirty; i.e, there needs to be particles in the water which can reflect the laser beam of the LIDAR. For clear water, the laser beam went straight through.
If you want to test if your water will work with a LIDAR, you can guess it by using a small laser pointer. If you can see the laser dot on the surface of the water, there is a good chance LIDAR will work too. I have attached a couple of photos of water which I was able to get my LIDAR to work. The red thing in the second photo is a red alligator clip.