Job Description: Water resources planner

What does a water resources planner do? Find out about the typical responsibilities, hours, salary and career opportunities.

What does a water resources planner do? Find out about the typical responsibilities, hours, salary and career opportunities.

Population growth, climate and weather pattern changes mean that water resource planners play a vital role in helping water companies deliver clean water and drainage to customers. Droughts are also becoming more commonplace so planning for future demands is becoming ever more challenging.

Job vacancies for water resource planners are predominantly found in local government, with the rest working for architectural practices and a small number working for scientific and technical consulting services.

The day-to-day

  • Advising water companies on how to meet current and future water demands.
  • Providing feasibility studies on a range of future planning and future proofing projects.
  • Assessing the water resources and water quality implications of proposed water resource schemes and drought management measures.
  • Analysing and interpreting data that impacts on strategic decision making including population trends, projected water delivery targets, use and storage.
  • Communicating with a number of key stakeholders on a range of water planning issues both in written and verbal formats.
  • Undertaking complex research assignments.
  • Reporting in detail on findings, projections and relevant data.
  • Advising on risks for new projects.

Key responsibilities

Responsibilities will vary according to organisation but may include a combination of:

  • Leading and co-ordinating input into a range of water resource management projects.
  • Managing and coaching junior staff in all aspects of water resources planning.
  • Ensuring that timelines and project deliverables are on target.
  • Keeping key stakeholders informed of project objectives and outcomes.
  • Working effectively with water companies, other planners, design engineers and regulators.
  • Effectively using software planning systems including MS Project and Primavera as well as others.
  • Managing the control and progress of relevant project procurements, tracking expenditure and producing financial schedules.
  • Preparing tender programmes.
  • Working with colleagues to predict future water usage, demands and resources.
  • Adopting innovative and creative strategies to manage current and future water resource projects.
  • Monitoring and enforcing the latest health and safety procedures, regulations and legislation.

Key skills

You will need to have excellent communication skills as you will play a critical role in communicating technical issues to a range of colleagues, water agencies and outside contractors. Previous experience of using planning software is a huge advantage as is an ability to influence others by using data and facts. A flair for analysing information and presenting it to others is a core skill as well as an ability to manage multiple project deliverables and keep large-scale projects on track. You will be customer-focused and have excellent leadership skills.

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A degree in a relevant discipline including civil engineering, urban planning or natural sciences is preferable. Further qualifications in hydrological sciences, water resources or related expertise is highly desirable.

Project management qualifications are a plus or at least some solid understanding and experience. This role is highly technical and requires solid IT skills.

Relevant experience

Required experience will vary between organisations and sectors but some common requirements include:

  • Solid knowledge of water resource management.
  • Clean, wastewater and construction planning experience.
  • Excellent and detailed understanding of UK water policy legislation.
  • Stakeholder engagement experience.
  • Previous use and knowledge of relevant software tools including Primavera P6.
  • Leadership and mentoring abilities.
  • Self-motivated planner with proven track record of working to project deliverables and targets.
  • Understanding of transactional operations and project stages.


Standard hours will be Monday-Friday, 9:00am to 5:00pm. There may be a requirement to work irregular hours to fit around particular needs or to respond to project demands.


A water resources planner can expect to earn between £30,000 - £50,000 per annum – this may rise according to experience, seniority and location.

Career opportunities:

Next steps may include:

  • Water resources engineer
  • Public works manager
  • Water quality and environmental consultant

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