Water Conservation and Green Stormwater Management
Without water, human life would be impossible. Not only are our bodies mostly water—between 55 to 80 percent—but we need water every day to survive. We need clean water to drink. We need it to produce food. And we need it because without healthy natural systems that rely on water forests, wetlands and cropland waterways, our economy could not survive and the earth could not support us. Already, droughts in many parts of the U.S. are teaching us just how important water is.
Keeping our water safe and clean is an important job. So is making sure that our water resources are well managed and used wisely. That’s especially true because only 1 percent of all water on earth is safe for drinking and other human uses. If we run out, there aren’t a lot of options.
There are a wide range of jobs in the field of water conservation and green stormwater management. Green stormwater management is sometimes called “green infrastructure” or “low-impact development.” Green stormwater management uses systems like green roofs and porous pavement to prevent sewer systems from overflowing and polluting our waterways when there’s too much rain or snow. These jobs include construction worker, green-roof installer, landscape architect, microbiologist, outreach specialist, pipefitter, hydrologist, public relations specialist, and urban planner.
This field has several big employers:
Government agencies are probably the biggest employer in this field. Here in the New York City area, that means the New York City government through the Department of Environmental Protection and other city agencies. It also means town, city and county governments in neighboring counties like Westchester and Nassau; the state government, through the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation, and state soil and water conservation districts; and the federal government, through agencies like the National Park Service, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the US Geological Survey, and the Bureau of Land Management.
Consulting groups also work in this field. They are private companies made up of experts, along with the kinds of support staff lots of businesses have clerks, building maintenance, and other jobs. Governments, businesses and others hire consulting groups to learn about water and wetland conditions in particular areas and to advise them about how to follow laws that protect water, land and wildlife.
Not-for-profit organizations are another big employer in this field. They are organizations that have been set up to carry out a mission, instead of simply to make money.
New York City is home to many fantastic nonprofits that work to conserve and protect our water supply. One of the most famous is the Waterkeeper Alliance. It works to connect not-for-profit groups across the country that help keep our drinking water and our lakes, streams, rivers and oceans safe and clean.
Some other not-for-profit organizations that work in water conservation and green stormwater management in New York City are the Natural Resources Defense Council; Charity: Water; the Bronx Council for Environmental Quality; The Nature Conservancy; Riverkeeper; and, the Newtown Creek Alliance. But those are only a few of the organizations doing this work. The job listing websites below, especially Idealist.org, can help you find listings at many not-for-profit organizations. One of the great things about Idealist.org is that it allows you to search its website using terms that make it easy to find jobs in the fields you’re interested in.
Architecture, Engineering, Design and Planning Firms
Architects, engineers, designers and urban and regional planners can have a big impact on how much water we use and how well we protect the water we have. Think about it: An architect can influence how much water a building uses by deciding what kind of toilets, faucets and showerheads are installed. Engineers design water systems in buildings. Designers make products that can use more or less water. And urban and regional planners can make sure watersheds—natural water systems—are protected. Again, businesses that employ architects, engineers, designers and planners have the same kinds of support staff that lots of other businesses have clerks, building maintenance, and other jobs.
In many areas of the country, water is provided by public or private utilities. In some parts of Long Island, for instance, water is provided by New York American Water. Many of these utilities have programs and employees that help customers save water.
Luckily, there are lots of resources that explain the kinds of jobs that are available in this field. Work for Water is a great website that explains the opportunities available in this field and lists jobs, too. The federal government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics has a report on the types of jobs available in water conservation. You can find it here. Other helpful webpages include the Green Job Bank, Indeed.com, and LinkedIn.com. To find environmental consulting groups in New York City and around the country, you can do an Internet search for “environmental consulting firms.” The same goes for architecture, engineering, design and planning firms and consulting groups—do an Internet search to find companies in these fields.
For even more information about the kinds of jobs available in water conservation and green stormwater management, and the training and education you might need to work in these fields, check out the Environmental Protection page of the Green Careers center at CareerOneStop.org. The federal government put CareerOneStop.org together to help people find work. CareerOneStop.org can also help you learn about salaries and benefits, along with other helpful information.
New York City-Area Government Employers
New York City
New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection runs a large number of water conservation programs. It also has jobs in wastewater management and green infrastructure. These jobs are listed on the NYC Careers website. Many jobs on that website do not require that applicants pass a civil service exam before they get hired. (If someone gets one of these so-called “provisional” jobs and a civil service exam in that area is offered, the person must then take and pass the exam.)
Jobs with Nassau County’s Soil and Water Conservation District are listed on its website. These are not civil service jobs.
Suffolk County Soil and Water Conservation District jobs are civil service jobs. To get one of these jobs, you must pass a civil service exam. Suffolk County Civil Service exams are listed here.
Jobs with Westchester County’s Soil and Water Conservation District, and with many cities and towns within the county, are usually listed through the County’s website. Most of these jobs are civil service jobs and to get one, you must pass a civil service exam. Mount Vernon, New Rochelle, White Plains and Yonkers are separate civil service agencies, and offer their own exams.
Job Boards That Include Jobs in Water Conservation and Green Stormwater Management