Careers which value water are investing in the future

Careers that value water span a range of industries and expertise, but they all have one thing in common. They help us to protect this vital resource, making it a sustainable driver of economic growth for future generations.

Water is essential to life, underpinning all our social and economic activity. To fully appreciate its value into the future, our world needs guardians, innovators, and investors who share a common vision of sustainable stewardship. These four very different career strands show how valuing water is a shared and interconnected responsibility.

Water policy will be central to affecting change

Water policy is set to become increasingly important as the world confronts and adapts to the effects of water scarcity.

Change makers in the field of governance have an impact everywhere from international organisations like the UN to national and local government. Driving sustainable change involves consulting with experts and local communities, increasing the efficiency of water use and allocating it to areas of highest social, economic and environmental value. To truly appreciate the value of water, we must recognize and embrace water’s multiple values for different groups and interests, and policy researchers and makers have a huge role in doing so on a national and international scale.

When water is scarce, policy makers may also be in a position to facilitate understanding and trust between different stakeholders, who may benefit from using water in competing, yet interconnected ways. Reconciling these interests in an equitable, transparent and inclusive way calls for a new generation of strategists, and unprecedented local, regional and international collaboration.

Protect the sources: water conservation

Predictions suggest the world may face a 40% shortfall in water availability within less than ten years. There is growing urgency to protect sources and to control and prevent pollution across multiple scales. Conservation and water management – a vast field, incorporating industry, business, farming and government – must be approached in a holistic way, with consideration for all the lives and livelihoods which depend on this precious resource. 

At every level, the businesses and organisations of the future must commit to protecting and managing rivers, watersheds, aquifers, associated ecosystems and used water flows so they may also sustain future generations. This means specialists in every sector, from environmental and agricultural scientists to quality control technicians, risk assessors, wastewater managers, forestry officers and city planners.

Technology and engineering will change water’s future

Concerted action is needed to realise the many benefits derived from water and reduce risks. It is vital to invest in infrastructure and innovation to pioneer new ways to protect this resource. The water engineers of the future, planning and constructing dams, piping networks, wells and aqueducts, will need to harness new ideas, tools and technology in order to meet unprecedented demand in a sustainable way. They’ll work with data analysts, experts in Artificial Intelligence and digital engineers to model and improve our water systems.

We have also seen extraordinary results when traditional water management methods, evolved over centuries, are adapted for our changing world. By combining an understanding of existing water systems with a knowledge of cutting-edge technology, innovators can continue to devise new ways to adapt to challenges like water scarcity, climate change, and growing populations.

Education and empowerment

Just as water underpins all life, education is crucial to fostering the collective will to drive real change. Educating and empowering a new generation of scientists, policy makers, and engineers and discovering new and valuable knowledge will be essential to maintain a pipeline of new innovators and educators who know the value of water.

Informing and inspiring people from all walks of life about the multifaceted value of water enables broader participation, water-wise decisions and sustainable practices in areas such as planning, infrastructure, urban and industrial development, farming, conservation and even domestic use.

Building the value of water into every stage of educational systems and training encourages dialogue, understanding and responsible action across all sectors of society.

A career that values water can take many forms

A career that values water can look like many things: policy making, research, engineering, conservation, education. Stewardship is needed in every sector and at every level, from small-scale farmers to responsible CEOs and government. Careers that value water are essential for a future that will protect this vital resource, and improve our relationship with water.

Related blog posts: