Other areas of water engineering include flood prevention and a multitude of environmental specialties, many of which relate to other areas of water engineering. Finding ways to divert runoff to prevent erosion, for example, has both civil and environmental applications, and involves identical principles in most situations (Kalle 2009). Effective strategies for collecting and draining runoff water in a way that doesnt simply divert the problem can be a lot more complex than it might at first seem, especially in environmental situations, and this is precisely why water engineers remain must have a comprehensive view of many different areas of engineering, including fluid mechanics, a knowledge of different materials for conducting water, effective ways of filtering and/or treating water, etc. The amount of knowledge required to take on any major water engineering project virtually guarantees that the engineer will have the knowledge and skill set for other jobs, too, meaning that the variety and the opportunities for water engineers simply will not cease. An emerging field in water engineering is that of the storm water technician, who actually monitors and develops methods of collecting and discharging storm water in both rural and urban areas (NACE 2009). With increasing environmental concerns of water shortages worldwide, this field could become even more important in coming years as conservation becomes a key component of our every day lives. This provides yet another example of the unending essentiality of water engineers to the societies they serve. Water is such a basic need for so many reasons, and at the same time can be such a threat, and there will always need to be those who can utilize waters abilities for society and protect against the misuse of water resources and the destructive forces of water itself.
This is why water engineers will always exist for this purpose.
It is impossible to guess what the future might hold for water engineers. Before the Romans, the idea of indoor plumbing was laughable in many parts of the world (and became so again after the fall of the Empire). Hydroelectric dams would have been inconceivable just two centuries ago. Perhaps one day water really will power cars, or allow us to grow corn on the moon — who can say? One thing is certain, though — there will be a team of water engineers making it happen.
BLS. (2009). “Engineers.” Occupational Outlook Handbook, U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. Accessed 17 November 2009. http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos027.htm
DOT (2003). “Civil Engineering Occupations.” Dictionary of Occupational Titles. Accessed 17 November 2009. http://www.occupationalinfo.org/defset1_880.html
Kalle, M. (2009). “Water engineer: Job description and activities.” Accessed 17 November 2009. http://www.prospects.ac.uk/p/types_of_job/water_engineer_job_description.jsp
NACE (2009). “New & Emerging Occupations: Science and Engineering Occupations.” National Association of Colleges and Employers. Accessed 17 November 2009. http://www.jobweb.org/studentarticles.aspx?id=1795
UACE. (2009). “Institute for Water Resources.” U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Accessed 17 November 2009. http://www.iwr.usace.army.mil/.