What do Hydrologists do?

Research the distribution, circulation, and physical properties of underground and surface waters; and study the form and intensity of precipitation, its rate of infiltration into the soil, movement through the earth, and its return to the ocean and atmosphere.

  • Evaluate data and provide recommendations regarding the feasibility of municipal projects, such as hydroelectric power plants, irrigation systems, flood warning systems, and waste treatment facilities.
  • Study and analyze the physical aspects of the earth in terms of the hydrological components, including atmosphere, hydrosphere, and interior structure.
  • Administer programs designed to ensure the proper sealing of abandoned wells.
  • Install, maintain, and calibrate instruments, such as those that monitor water levels, rainfall, and sediments.
  • Answer questions and provide technical assistance and information to contractors or the public regarding issues such as well drilling, code requirements, hydrology, and geology.
  • Measure and graph phenomena such as lake levels, stream flows, and changes in water volumes.
  • Investigate properties, origins, and activities of glaciers, ice, snow, and permafrost.
  • Review applications for site plans and permits and recommend approval, denial, modification, or further investigative action.
  • Apply research findings to help minimize the environmental impacts of pollution, waterborne diseases, erosion, and sedimentation.
  • Develop or modify methods of conducting hydrologic studies.
  • Evaluate research data in terms of its impact on issues such as soil and water conservation, flood control planning, and water supply forecasting.
  • Design and conduct scientific hydrogeological investigations to ensure that accurate and appropriate information is available for use in water resource management decisions.
  • Develop computer models for hydrologic predictions.
  • Prepare hydrogeologic evaluations of known or suspected hazardous waste sites and land treatment and feedlot facilities.
  • Collect and analyze water samples as part of field investigations or to validate data from automatic monitors.
  • Study and document quantities, distribution, disposition, and development of underground and surface waters.
  • Investigate complaints or conflicts related to the alteration of public waters, gathering information, recommending alternatives, informing participants of progress, and preparing draft orders.
  • Monitor the work of well contractors, exploratory borers, and engineers and enforce rules regarding their activities.
  • Design civil works associated with hydrographic activities and supervise their construction, installation, and maintenance.
  • Conduct research and communicate information to promote the conservation and preservation of water resources.
  • Conduct short-term and long-term climate assessments and study storm occurrences.
  • Compile and evaluate hydrologic information to prepare navigational charts and maps and to predict atmospheric conditions.
  • Prepare written and oral reports describing research results, using illustrations, maps, appendices, and other information.
  • Coordinate and supervise the work of professional and technical staff, including research assistants, technologists, and technicians.
  • Study public water supply issues, including flood and drought risks, water quality, wastewater, and impacts on wetland habitats.

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Necessary Skills

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Critical Thinking
  • Writing
  • Mathematics
  • Speaking
  • Active Learning
  • Monitoring
  • Science
  • Active Listening

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