The system of shallow water equations admits infinitely many conservation laws. This paper investigates weak local residuals as smoothness indicators of numerical solutions to the shallow water equations. To get a weak formulation, a test function and integration are introduced into the shallow water equations. We use a finite volume method to solve the shallow water equations numerically. Based on our numerical simulations, the weak local residual of a simple conservation law with a simple test function is identified to be the best as a smoothness indicator.