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Hydrologists research, develop and maintain safe and sustainable domestic or natural water management strategies.

Hydrologists apply scientific knowledge and mathematical principles to solve water-related problems such as quantity, quality and availability. Hydrologists could work on finding new water sources, predicting droughts or floods and reducing waste water.

Typical responsibilities of the job include:

  • studying relationships between soil and rock features, rainfall and water run-off

  • using specialist computer modelling applications

  • recording and analysing water resource systems data

  • employing statistical and hydrological modelling techniques

  • determining the most effective water management methods

  • assessing the impact of environmental changes and land use changes

  • predicting and monitoring rainfall, water yields and usage

  • liaising with clients, consultants, water regulators, researchers, external bodies and other professionals

  • managing on-site data collection

  • forecasting floods

  • producing water and drought management plans

  • ensuring appropriate regulations are implemented

  • keeping up to date with scientific and technical developments

  • making presentations

  • supervising the work of hydrometrists and other staff


Qualifications and training required


A strong academic background is essential for all candidates. You will need a degree in an appropriate subject, eg geography, engineering, science, maths, or environmental studies. A relevant postgraduate qualification is also beneficial, particularly for research positions.


Key skills for hydrologists


  • Project management

  • Problem solving

  • Organisation

  • Teamworking

  • Communication skills

  • Good computing ability

  • Mathematical skills


Typical employers of hydrologists


  • Environmental bodies

  • The Environment Agency

  • National government

  • Regional councils

  • Public authorities

  • Water or sewerage utility companies

  • Research and development organisations

  • The Natural Environment Research Council

  • Consultancies


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