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Share your expert knowledge of water.

Salary Range

$63,030 - $101,020

Source: U.S. Department of Labor

What does a Hydrologist do?

Hydrologists study water and water systems. In this profession, you have a lot of options in terms of what aspect of water to focus on. Some Hydrologists analyze lakes and streams, while others focus on precipitation or the ocean. Still others work on conservation efforts or examine the far-reaching effects of water pollution.

Regardless of which path you take, you should enjoy being in the elements because Hydrologists often work in the field, sometimes in remote locations, getting their hands dirty. Flannel is optional, but a love for the outdoors is a must.

Hydrologists are typically employed by the government, research institutes, engineering firms, and nonprofit groups. As a water researcher, you should keep in mind that patience is a virtue. It often takes years of study to determine water patterns, and acquire enough data to see the ups and downs in a water ecosystem.

Your painstaking research can help people prepare for droughts, offset the effects of excessive snow melting, and ensure that reservoirs are performing properly. Fieldwork will include measuring runoff, recording water depth, and monitoring wells.

If you get involved in conservation, expect to work in polluted zones. You will collect water samples to determine what kind of contaminants have affected it, as well as samples of nearby plants to predict how the pollution will impact other life forms. Engineering firms will consult with you when they start new building projects to ensure that their efforts won’t hurt surrounding water supplies.

You should also expect to do a lot of teaching if you get involved in awareness projects. Nonprofits will ask you to develop materials warning people against polluting, and telling them how they can save water.

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