What is a Water Resource Engineer?

water-resource-engineer

Water Resource Engineers develop new equipment and systems for water resource management facilities across the United States. The systems that Water Resource Engineers create ensure that citizens are provided with a continuous supply of clean, uncontaminated water for drinking, living, and recreational purposes. Water Resource Engineers not only design these water management systems, but often oversee the construction and maintenance of these systems as well. An increasing population and continuous need for more water stimulates this fast-growing industry. A Bachelor's degree and official certification are required to pursue this career, though many Water Resource Engineers also go on to pursue their Masters Degrees.

What Does a Water Resource Engineer Do?

Water Resource Engineering is a specific kind of civil engineering that involves the design of new systems and equipment that help manage human water resources. Some of the areas Water Resource Engineers touch on are water treatment facilities, underground wells, and natural springs.

Water Resource Engineers must create new equipment and systems to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of water treatment and aquatic resource management. A typical workday involves the analysis of data from relevant areas, then designing new or improved facilities to enhance the cleansing effects of the water treatment system. A Water Resource Engineer must take budgetary constraints, government regulations, and other factors into consideration when designing these systems. A Water Resource Engineer may then oversee the construction and implementation of these systems to ensure that they are properly assembled. After completion, they may manage the maintenance of these systems.

Where Does a Water Resource Engineer Work?

Water Resource Engineers spend most of their time in an office looking over data and designing new water resource management systems. However, part of the work day may be spent at construction sites, allowing the Engineer to oversee the construction of their designs. They may also find themselves in more industrial environments when supervising maintenance on advanced equipment. Some Water Resource Engineers choose to travel abroad to participate in large engineering projects.

Most Water Resource Engineers work full-time, with many putting in more than 40 hours a week. This extra time allows them to properly oversee projects and assure that everything is running smoothly.

What Is the Average Water Resource Engineer's Salary?

Water Resource Engineers make an average of $79,340 a year. The lowest 10% make around $51,280, while the highest 10% earned around $122,020. Many Water Resource Engineers work for the government at the federal, state, and local levels, while others work at engineering firms and nonresidential construction companies.

StateTotal EmploymentBottom 25%Median SalaryTop 75%
Alabama3,440$53,060$68,380$89,480
Alaska1,100$81,640$96,680$115,450
Arizona5,580$61,830$78,440$102,210
Arkansas1,270$54,260$70,050$88,950
California37,900$78,580$95,940$113,990
Colorado6,420$64,960$79,860$98,260
Connecticut3,350$69,470$83,040$97,130
Delaware710$64,270$75,410$93,430
District of Columbia1,110$68,580$84,820$101,450
Florida12,920$61,950$79,350$97,550
Georgia6,200$56,290$77,610$104,780
Guam260$41,150$53,410$73,330
Hawaii2,070$63,220$77,510$93,230
Idaho1,260$61,260$72,640$89,440
Illinois9,290$66,900$83,700$105,000
Indiana2,740$55,510$69,380$85,610
Iowa2,020$61,680$78,230$94,660
Kansas1,600$61,070$72,440$86,740
Kentucky2,620$57,520$72,060$89,090
Louisiana4,130$69,960$87,650$108,130
Maine970$57,410$69,460$86,070
Maryland6,930$64,430$79,720$104,120
Massachusetts6,250$62,330$76,420$96,060
Michigan5,960$55,700$68,450$82,570
Minnesota3,800$64,420$78,030$94,230
Mississippi1,710$57,540$73,750$93,320
Missouri3,980$56,090$68,380$84,590
Montana1,290$54,120$64,370$78,000
Nebraska1,530$59,310$76,890$93,430
Nevada1,770$65,780$84,860$108,200
New Hampshire1,100$57,080$70,180$84,850
New Jersey6,720$70,110$88,580$109,930
New Mexico1,190$61,220$75,020$89,480
New York12,800$67,520$82,750$105,140
North Carolina7,670$59,990$72,930$90,210
North Dakota950$55,460$68,810$84,850
Ohio7,200$57,900$72,920$89,010
Oklahoma1,970$63,220$81,990$105,300
Oregon4,310$62,660$76,620$94,590
Pennsylvania12,550$60,750$75,040$95,830
Puerto Rico2,220$35,700$48,660$66,310
Rhode Island690$70,310$87,220$103,560
South Carolina5,920$51,600$70,940$95,320
South Dakota990$53,900$64,140$76,820
Tennessee4,400$65,820$84,850$107,810
Texas23,550$68,040$87,450$121,430
Utah3,060$62,020$74,340$92,120
Vermont500$55,820$67,850$83,120
Virginia8,210$63,060$78,140$98,190
Washington11,830$67,460$81,430$99,670
West Virginia1,290$49,690$65,980$81,710
Wisconsin4,460$57,910$70,330$86,670
Wyoming920$59,250$70,800$83,460

Table data taken from BLS (http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes172051.htm)

What Is the Job Demand for Water Resource Engineers?

The number of open positions for Water Resource Engineers is projected to grow 20% in the next 10 years, which is faster than average. Infrastructures are constantly aging, requiring repair and rebuilding. In addition, a growing population and continual strain placed on our water resources will demand more Water Resource Engineers to create new and more efficient systems.

What Are the Education Requirements to Become a Water Resource Engineer?

Water Resource Engineers are expected to obtain a Bachelor's degree at minimum. Some states also demand that you attend an ABET-accredited program to help with the licensure process, a requirement for all engineers.

Obtaining licensure usually involves passing the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) Exam, then becoming a Civil Engineering (CE) Intern or an Engineer-in-Training (EIT) for a designated amount of time. The exact requirements for obtaining licensure vary from state to state.

Many Water Resource Engineers go on to pursue their Masters Degrees. In fact, one in five Civil Engineers pursue higher education. This not only increases chance of hire, but also increases the possibility of landing a higher-paying management position.

Degrees Related to Water Resource Engineering

What Kind of Societies and Professional Organizations Do Water Resource Engineers Have?

Water Resource Engineers and those who wish to become Water Resource Engineers can look to the following government sites for guidance:

Water Resource Engineers can also browse through these organizations and websites for valuable resources:

  • American Academy of Water Resource Engineers (AAWRE)
    AAWRE is a non-profit dedicated to advancing the education and knowledge of ethical practices to Water Resource Engineers. They provide a Diplomate, Water Resource Engineer (D.WRE) certification that helps Water Resource Engineers gain specialized knowledge in the industry and increase hirablility.
  • American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
    ASCE is a professional organization for civil engineers across all disciplines. ASCE provides education and career opportunities, conferences around the country, as well as links to professional publications and other information resources. This can be a valuable resource to civil engineers, including Water Resource Engineers.

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