Hydrologists combine scientific, economic, social, and environmental knowledge in managing issues concerning water: quantity, availability, quality, and sustainability. They may be involved in the supply of water-ensuring the effective flow of water through pipes and channels to cities, residential areas, and irrigated farms-or they may study environmental issues related to water, such as flooding, social erosion, pollution, conservation, and protection.

Hydrologists may be employed by large water suppliers, consulting firms, business and government agencies, or academic settings. They may be hired to address existing problems, such as groundwater contamination or flooding, or to develop ways of avoiding predicted problems, such as water shortages.

Work activities vary according to the roles chosen, but common duties include:

  • Measuring rainfall, run-off, river flow, water quality, and tidal behaviour.
  • Combining data sources to search for underground water reservoirs.
  • Ensuring organisations comply with environmental water policies.
  • Reviewing action plans and overseeing responses to floods and droughts.
  • Employing computer modelling techniques to assess the most effective methods of managing available water resources.