Water Resources Engineering

Water Resources Engineering

Water resources engineers deal with issues concerning the quality and quantity of water. In former decades, the environmental impacts of providing water supplies to cities and agriculture, controlling floods with dams and levees, or draining swamps (wetlands), were of lesser concern to society than today. Now, negative impacts are a major aspect of water resources engineering. Communities use water for agriculture, industry, recreation, households, and maintaining a healthy natural environment. Typical responsibilities of a water resources engineer include:


  • Design: design of flood control systems and modulation of water flow in rivers, beach protection measures, hydropower generation facilities, and water supply systems for households, industry, and agriculture


  • Analysis: modeling the movement and dispersion of contaminants in surface water and groundwater, using mathematical models and computer simulations to evaluate alternatives, cost-benefit and lifecycle cost analysis


  • Monitoring: monitoring river flow, sediments, lake and reservoir levels, snowpack, precipitation, runoff, weather, and climate


  • Mitigation: maintaining, repairing, and upgrading infrastructure; developing solutions to recover from after-effects of the flood; water conservation.


Figure 2-13 illustrates both ancient and modern examples of components of water supply systems. The way people have obtained and used water have been a major influence on entire nations throughout history. The historical aspect of civil engineering is one of the themes that science museums can present to their visitors, as well as current technical and research aspects.

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