Water Resource Engineer in action, analyzing a water sample.
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Water Resource Engineer Job Description and Salary Details

Last Updated on May 19, 2023 by Admin

Water Resource Engineering is a required field that focuses on managing and optimizing the use of water resources. As the world grapples with the challenges of climate change, population growth, and aging infrastructure, the role of Water Resource Engineers has become increasingly vital. These professionals use their skills to ensure the safety and efficiency of water use, manage wastewater, maintain and improve water infrastructure, and contribute to global efforts to combat climate change. This article provides an in-depth look at the job description of a Water Resource Engineer, including the responsibilities and tasks they typically perform. We will also delve into the salary details, job outlook, and future career prospects in this important and rewarding field.


Position Summary

A Water Resource Engineer is a specialized professional in civil engineering who is responsible for designing, planning, and managing water-related projects. These projects often include water supply and distribution systems, wastewater treatment facilities, flood control measures, and water conservation applications. The role requires a deep understanding of hydrology, hydraulics, and environmental science.

Key Duties and Responsibilities

  1. Design and manage water resource projects, including stormwater management systems, water distribution systems, wastewater treatment facilities, and flood control projects.
  2. Conduct hydrological analyses and hydraulic modeling to evaluate the impacts of water resource projects on the local environment and community.
  3. Prepare, review, and update technical reports, permits, and project proposals.
  4. Collaborate with other engineers, environmental scientists, planners, and project stakeholders to ensure that projects meet design standards and environmental regulations.
  5. Guide water conservation and water quality improvement strategies.
  6. Develop and implement innovative solutions to manage water resources effectively and sustainably.
  7. Conduct field investigations to collect data and verify design computations.
  8. Use computer-aided design (CAD) software for project design and implementation.
  9. Communicate effectively with clients, regulatory agencies, and team members.

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  1. A Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering, Environmental Engineering, or a related field is required. A Master’s degree and/or a Professional Engineer (PE) license may be preferred.
  2. Experience in water resources engineering or a related field.
  3. Strong knowledge of hydrology, hydraulics, and environmental regulations.
  4. Proficiency in CAD software and other engineering design and analysis software.
  5. Excellent project management, problem-solving, and communication skills.

Salary Data (2023)

As of 2023, the average salary for a Water Resources Engineer in the United States varies widely depending on the region, the engineer’s level of experience, and other factors. On the lower end, salaries start around $58,000 to $65,773 per year, with the average salary in the range of $72,313 to $79,264 per year.

On the higher end, salaries can reach $101,000 to $111,000 annually. Some Water Resources Engineers also receive additional benefits like bonuses and profit sharing, which can further increase total compensation.

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Job Outlook (2023 and Beyond)

The job outlook for Water Resource Engineers is generally positive. While specific data for this role isn’t available, we can look at the data for environmental engineers as a proxy, given the similar skill sets and areas of focus.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of environmental engineers, which includes Water Resource Engineers, is projected to grow 4 percent from 2021 to 2031, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

There are about 3,400 job openings for environmental engineers each year on average over the decade, many of which are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as retiring.


Given the ongoing global emphasis on water conservation and sustainable resource management, the demand for Water Resource Engineers will likely remain steady or increase in the coming years.

Future Career Prospects

The United States needs specialized engineering professionals like Water Resource Engineers to deal with challenges posed by climate change, aging infrastructure, and a growing population. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has highlighted the need to improve American water supply systems, which Water Resource Engineers are ideally suited to address.

Water Resource Engineers are expected to be key in improving the nation’s water infrastructure. This includes managing issues like water main breaks, developing new pipelines, and ensuring sustainable water resources. Furthermore, they are expected to work on innovative projects such as transforming wastewater into renewable energy and implementing ultraviolet disinfection technology in water treatment plants.

Additionally, Water Resource Engineers are helping confront global warming by cooling waterways and oceans, trapping carbon dioxide, and reducing the negative effects of global warming. They are expected to collaborate with scientists to develop innovative ways to trap CO2 and reduce temperatures directly related to the CO2 in the atmosphere.

The demand for Water Resource Engineers is projected to rise due to the need for significant investment in the nation’s drinking water infrastructure over the next 20 years. Job opportunities in the field are expected to grow, especially for those with advanced degrees in civil engineering, offering a competitive edge for leadership positions.

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In conclusion, Water Resource Engineering is a field of great significance and necessity, especially in our current era marked by challenges related to climate change, population growth, and aging infrastructure. Water Resource Engineers play a crucial role in ensuring safe water use, managing water supplies, treating wastewater, maintaining infrastructure, and contributing to solutions for global warming.


Their work is vital for public health and the environment and instrumental in addressing key global issues. The profession offers diverse responsibilities and opportunities for innovation, from wastewater management and recovery to the implementation of cutting-edge technologies like ultraviolet disinfection.

The salary data suggests that the profession is well-remunerated, reflecting the high skill and expertise required for the role. Moreover, the job outlook is positive, with a steady demand for these professionals projected into the next decade.

As the world continues to grapple with environmental challenges and the need to ensure the sustainable use of resources, the role of Water Resource Engineers is expected to become even more important. Those considering a career in this field can look forward to contributing to solutions for some of the most pressing issues of our time, while also enjoying robust career prospects and a competitive salary. Therefore, a career as a Water Resource Engineer is not only rewarding but also an opportunity to make a significant impact on our future.

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What are the main responsibilities of a Water Resource Engineer?

Water Resource Engineers are responsible for managing a population’s water use and ensuring the treatment of water is safe for human consumption. They design and maintain treatment plants, supply systems, pipelines, and pump systems. They also contribute to confronting global warming and improving water infrastructure, particularly in the face of climate change and aging infrastructure.​

What is the average salary for a Water Resource Engineer in the United States?

The average salary for a Water Resources Engineer in the U.S. varies depending on the source but is generally between $65,000 and $99,000 annually​.

What is the job outlook for Water Resource Engineers?

The job outlook for environmental engineers, a category which water resources engineers fall under is projected to grow 4 percent from 2021 to 2031, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations​.

What qualifications are needed to become a Water Resource Engineer?

To become a water resource engineer, candidates must have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in civil engineering and must apply to receive a certificate from the American Academy of Water Resources Engineers.​

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