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:
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.