What are the Different Types of Jobs in Water Engineering?

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  • Written By: Terrie Brockmann
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 13 November 2019
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Managing the planet's water resources is an international problem, and there are jobs in water engineering in almost every country. Water engineers work for various government agencies on the national, regional, and local levels as well as for private companies. Usually people associate water engineering with drinking water and waste water management, but it covers more careers than just those two. Water engineers may be responsible for hydropower and reservoir management, floodplain management, and river restoration as well as other water-related projects. Some of the best jobs for a water engineer in the private sector include those in drinking water filtration and water heater companies.

Most water engineers need to be able to perform multi-objective planning tasks because the science of water management is very complex. Often jobs in water engineering necessitate years of experience and a college degree, either a bachelor's, master's, or a doctorate, depending on the requirements of the employer. Generally, a person works in entry-level jobs to gain work experience in the field of water engineering that interests him or her.


The different public water engineering careers include waste water processing, water treatment, water distribution, and more. The requirements for water engineers range from degrees in water resources or water science to degrees in chemistry or microbiology. An applicant may want to clarify what schooling the prospective employer expects the water engineer to have. Frequently, an employer expects the water engineer to manage staff, interact with vendors, and in some cases participate in media interviews. Some companies train a water engineer to interact with the public, such as speaking at events, promoting the company through media sources, and testifying before public or governmental hearings.

Other jobs in water engineering include managing aquifer storage, water transportation, and recovery of waste and storm water. Officials in smaller communities usually combine these jobs, but in larger municipalities there may be a department of water engineers. A good job for an experienced and well-educated engineer is senior water engineer. This person oversees engineers and technicians, implements government regulations, and manages large projects, such as facility upgrades.

Another complex job is storm water management. There are many aspects to this job, and frequently a water engineer must coordinate work with engineers in other departments. A storm water manager or engineer is responsible for designing a system that can handle large amounts of water during storms. He or she also is responsible for complying with governmental regulations, such as natural resource protection laws.

Sometimes the jobs in water engineering do not deal with governmental employers. Companies that make and install in-house water filtration systems hire water engineers to design and develop new equipment and design upgrades for existing filtration systems. Hot water system companies offer jobs in water engineering, especially to engineers who are familiar with gas and electrical systems.

Water engineer job titles vary. One employer may title the job as water treatment engineering specialist, and another may label a job with the same tasks as a civil engineer. Other titles may include director of water resource engineering and waste water engineer. As people seek recreation in the water resorts, jobs in water engineering in these resorts are rising in numbers and frequently are labeled as water resort engineer. An experienced water engineer who has a doctorate and has published papers may want to consider a career as a professor of water science.


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