Water Resources and Civil Engineering

Water Resource Engineers are civil engineers who study all the aspects of water resource management. They identify major issues facing water systems, then develop solutions for these issues.


Water Resource Engineers are civil engineers who study all the aspects of water resource management. They identify major issues facing water systems, then develop solutions for these issues. These solutions can include the generation, treatment, pumping, storage, and utilization of water. The methods used to conserve and preserve water vary widely according to the circumstances.

Sometimes, conservation means usage at minimal rates; sometimes it means curtailing consumption so as not to deplete available supplies; sometimes it means limiting the use of water so as not to cause drought or flooding; and sometimes it means sharing out the available water amongst a number of users so that no community is left in an emergency situation without water supply. A civil engineer has to be well versed in all these aspects to distinguish between the need for conservation, avoidance of damage, allocation of water among a number of users and so on.

Water Resources Engineering offers numerous benefits to society. It can be used to protect natural resources and infrastructure, conserve energy and water, prevents or reduce damages due to floods and droughts, improve urbanization and construction, improve public health, and save money. This discipline of engineering seeks to maximize the use of available water while minimizing the ecological and social impacts.

Some of the areas of water resource management that civil engineers have to focus on include agricultural productivity and water supply, ecological management and aquatic environments, water pollution control and quality, and urban planning and design. Civil engineers also have to create plans for the protection of the environment and manage resources such as power plants, waste water treatment and collection, telecommunications networks, telecommunications lines, fuel delivery, construction projects, environmental assessment and remediation, economic development, geology and geo-hydrology, water management, and law and policy.

Civil engineers have to assess various risks to the functioning of water resource systems. These include threats from natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, landslides, and storms; sabotage and accidents that can harm water facilities; and harmful effects of pollutants on the environment. They have to identify ways to improve efficiency and reduce costs in such areas.

They can help the government to plan and implement policies that can promote the development of water infrastructure and conservation of the natural resources. They can help design efficient infrastructure that can transport humans and other products safely. In the process, they also create a better environment for everyone.


A major portion of civil engineering research deals with the regulation of water management and pollution control. Civil engineers must evaluate and monitor the impact of various activities on water resource systems. They can determine the need for new infrastructure and the reduction of pollutants that can be effectively managed by existing systems.

They can design methods and systems for pollution control that will prevents the occurrence of new problems. This branch of engineering focuses on water resource engineering, water quality improvement, energy efficiency, construction, water distribution, restoration, environmental impact assessment, aquatic eco-efficiency, and flood risk management.

Environmental civil engineering is closely related to water resource engineering but deals only with the design of habitats and landscapes. They focus on issues related to air quality, water pollution, natural environments, endangered species, endangered local ecosystems, climate change, and sustainable development.

These civil engineers assess and determine the impacts of various projects on natural habitats, human habitat, the environment, the physical structures and materials used in the projects, and the consequences of their effects on future human sustainability. They give consideration to issues concerning the quality of air, water, and the Earth's ecosystems.

Environmental civil engineering can include processes like climate change adaptation, scientific management, and natural disasters preparedness. Climate change is an important issue globally due to the increasing threats and disastrous effects of climate change.

The key issues include limited global resources, environmental degradation, and changes in precipitation and temperature patterns. In terms of adaptation, it involves various strategies and solutions for reducing the negative impacts of climate change and enhancing the capabilities of ecosystems.

Water resource engineering includes various aspects including water treatment, water quality improvement, and water infrastructure development. Wastewater treatment techniques include softening, de-mineralizing, eliminating pathogenic microorganisms, regulating sulfate and sediments in water, and compensating for nutrient removal. Water quality improvement entails the careful monitoring of contaminants in water, pumping and filtering of treated sewage, purification of contaminated wastewaters, preventsion of outbreaks of waterborne diseases, and restoration of contaminated groundwater.

Water infrastructure development relates to the expansion of water sources and utilization of existing sources. It also involves the construction and modification of water ways, development of new reservoirs and pipes, construction of water stations, and improvements in agricultural water management. Finally, the engineering of water resource management involves economic allocation of the use of scarce resources to ensure adequate utilization and quality development of water supplies.

In spite of the fact that these two disciplines are interrelated, they have different concepts and practices. Water resource management is a science which guides the utilization of water resources while civil engineering aims to enhance the aesthetic and functional aspect of a structure or building. Thus, a good civil engineer must be both an environmental and geotechnical engineer. Water resources and civil engineering may be studied together at the graduate and doctoral level.

Olivia Smith

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