Several branches of civil engineering include activities that would fall under the description of water resources engineer jobs. There are positions within the fields of agricultural engineering, hydraulic engineering, municipal engineering and environmental engineering. Projects such as hydroelectric power plants, irrigation systems, wastewater management systems and the supply of drinking water require water resource engineers to evaluate situations, plan solutions and oversee implementation of plans. Employers providing water resource engineer jobs include local, regional or national governments; branches of military; private companies; and even individual citizens.
In agricultural engineering, a water resource engineer might plan irrigation projects, examine what areas will be affected by runoff from a farm that may contain pesticides or fertilizers and analyze the risk that a potential farmland will flood. Water resources engineer jobs in hydraulic engineering include aiding in the design of new bridges to minimize the blockage of water during a flood stage event, determining the optimal design of culverts in various settings, designing projects to protect the banks of streams from erosion and designing drainage systems to prevent flooding of roadways and bridges. Planning sewage systems, water treatment plants, fresh water supply and assessing the location of landfill sites with regard to the safety of the water supply and storm drainage are water resources engineering projects that fall under municipal engineering. Some areas in environmental engineering that are related to water resources engineering overlap with areas of agricultural and municipal engineering: wastewater engineering, examining runoff from farms and analyzing the risk that landfills pose to the water supply. The emphasis in environmental engineering, however, is on the effects that contamination, pollution and the diversion of water have on the health of the ecosystem.
Training and education required for water resources engineer jobs include four-year degrees that provide a strong foundation in mathematics and the physical sciences including physics, chemistry, geology and biology in addition to courses in engineering. Hydrology, the study of water as it behaves naturally in the water cycle; hydraulics, the study of the physics of the movement of fluids; and hydrochemistry, the chemical interactions of water, are all important areas of study within the water resources engineer major. This field of work is innovative and technologically driven, and it requires ongoing professional development through workshops and training courses. These training sessions might cover how to use new computer programs, new study strategies and new analysis guidelines. Sources of the most current information regarding water resources engineer jobs include colleges, universities and trade associations.