Engineering Career Resources

Water Engineer Job Description

Water Engineer Job Description

Water engineers are engineering specialists who work in any of the water-based projects, which can range from the provision of clean water to prevention of flood damage and waste water disposal.

They can work on a variety of projects and their day to day duties will vary from one job to the next. Water engineers can be responsible for repairs and maintenance of reservoirs, sea defence walls and pumping stations. They can research solutions to problems such as ageing infrastructure, and repair any structures relevant to their field of expertise. They will frequently monitor flood levels when there is a high risk of flooding, and work on developing flood defence strategies for high risk areas. Water engineers can work from an office or at different locations outdoors, and their responsibilities will usually include both technical and management tasks.


Water engineers must have excellent asset management skills, as their job usually involves work on structures that control water resources. They must also have good budgeting skills because they are the ones responsible for controlling project budgets. Negotiation skills are very useful in this field, as water engineers often negotiate prices with vendors.

Water engineers must be good at complex problem solving and analysis. Project management skills are essential in this line of work, as are time management skills. Additionally, teamwork and people skills, and a proactive approach to the project at hand, can be a huge asset.

Strong IT skills and a driving license are generally required for most jobs in this profession.


Water engineers most commonly have an academic degree in civil engineering, but candidates can enter the profession with qualifications in related disciplines, including environmental engineering and science, geology, geophysics, biochemistry, chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, and process engineering. Candidates with a foundation degree or HND can only find employment in technician level roles. They can, however, improve their career outlook by obtaining the status of incorporated engineer (IEng), which requires further education and some relevant work experience.

Those without a degree in civil engineering can get access to roles with more responsibilities by working toward obtaining the status of chartered engineer (CEng), which usually requires an MSc in engineering accredited by a professional body such as the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE).


Water engineers can plan, design and develop flood defence programs, modification schemes for sewers, and waste water disposal methods, or oversee repairs of related structures. They will produce documentation for any construction activities, meet with other project managers to troubleshoot problems and plan different stages of a project, and present technical information to clients and colleagues. They will also frequently meet with the relevant local authorities, contractors and vendors and keep up to date with any policy changes.

Water engineers usually monitor progress of any given project from the feasibility stage to implementation and handover, but they can also be responsible for overseeing a single stage of a project, especially if it is larger in scope. They will also be the ones who administer contracts and make sure that all the work is completed within deadline.