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Insights What are the benefits of Integrated Water Management?

Water is not only a vital component in sustaining the integrity of the natural environment, but it's also an important source of economic and social growth. As the world’s population grows, and we face more climate change, water has become a highly valued yet scarce commodity, so water engineers have become increasingly in demand to find solutions. 

Water engineering is a division of civil engineering, focusing specifically on water-based projects and may include water treatment, wastewater, or infrastructure development. Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) is an all-encompassing approach to the sustainable management of water resources, enabling various stakeholders to participate in solutions for water management. 

The framework of IWRM is based on four fundamental concepts set out at the 1992 Dublin Water Conference and the Rio de Janeiro Summit on Sustainable Development. The following are the guiding principles of integrated water resources management:

  1. Freshwater is a limited and sensitive resource that is necessary for life, development, and environmental preservation.
  2. Water development and management should be based on a collaborative strategy that includes users, planners, and policymakers at all levels;
  3. Water provision, administration, and protection are all dominated by women; and
  4. Water has a monetary worth in all of its competing uses and should be treated as such.

The IWRM framework is in line with AtkinsRéalis ’s strategy to drive a sustainable future by designing and building critical infrastructure to protect water. Billions of people around the world lack access to water, so it is essential that we find solutions quickly. 

river-lake water engineering system from a bird's-eye view

Examples of Integrated Water Resource Management

  1. The Hong Kong SAR Government's Water Supplies Department (WSD) had commissioned AtkinsRéalis to conduct a feasibility study on the transfer of the Yau Tong fresh and saltwater supply reservoirs to tunnels. The relocation freed up existing sites for housing and other uses, allowing Hong Kong to meet its long-term social and economic needs while maintaining a reliable, adequate, and high-quality water supply.
  2. District 7 of the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) planned to buy right-of-way storm-water control for big transportation projects around Tampa Bay. The FDOT had proposed to construct detention ponds to keep building runoff out of the bay. While this old technique would keep water quality from deteriorating as a result of adjacent improvements, it would prove to be ineffective. To assess the practicality and advantages of a novel method that included recreating natural circulation patterns near causeways, AtkinsRéalis conducted an ecological feasibility study and developed a thorough hydrodynamic model. The model revealed that tidal flushing through the construction of a new opening would improve conditions for seagrass regeneration and would be cheaper than building over 200 typical storm-water detention ponds.

What job opportunities are available for engineers in Integrated Water Resources Management?

The inevitable fact of today's society is that many people take drinking clean water and having a functioning sewage system for granted. Yet resolving these issues is, fundamentally, what a water engineer does, and shows why we need them. Some of the issues that water engineer encounters include global warming, aging infrastructures, population growth, and a desire for a greater quality of life. 

In the US, a water engineer develops tools and ways to improve water efficiency and give us a more sustainable living environment. When it comes to the main responsibilities of a water engineer, numerous solutions are created to safeguard a community from the disastrous impacts of floods. Depending on the project, a water engineer may be tasked with monitoring the water supply on a daily basis to ensure that it's safe to drink or determining the optimal locations for municipal water treatment plants.

AtkinsRéalis : The Engineering Experts

A water engineering career in the US is varied, exciting and in great demand. Engineers working in the water sector must stay up to date with the latest innovations, safety rules and other market variables in addition to daily responsibilities on a project to ensure best practice. If you’re looking for a role in engineering, you’ll want to be at a first-class, innovative company with engineering expertise to learn from. 

At AtkinsRéalis , we’re one of the most well-known design, engineering, and project management firms in the world. For more than 50 years, we have provided public and private clients across the United States with infrastructure planning, engineering, construction, environmental consulting, urban planning, architectural, and program management services. As different regions around the world are facing growing populations, climate change, pollution, manufacturing, and changing lifestyles, we seek to produce solutions that sustain and improve collective welfare.

Opportunities for water engineers in the US in the post-pandemic era

In the United States, there were an estimated 413,000 civil engineers employed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic created new obstacles that the civil engineering and construction sectors could not have anticipated, such as quick site closure, supply chain interruption, and social isolation. However, we’re now seeing signs that civil engineering jobs in the US are on the rise in the post-pandemic era. 

At AtkinsRéalis , we have been planning and developing water infrastructure throughout the world for more than a century, and so customers trust and collaborate with us to provide solutions. We take pride in our capacity to assure ecologically responsible water services because, given the stakes, 'good enough' just isn't good enough. That's why, in our quest for better solutions, we’re always pushing the frontiers of research and innovation.  

If you’re looking for an opportunity post-COVID to make a difference to the future of the planet, whilst advancing your career, browse our water jobs or apply for an engineering job in the US today.