The European Education Directory

Water Resource Management

By Dr Brian McIntosh
Lecturer in Water Processes

School of Applied Sciences, Cranfield University, UK


Why water resource management?

Water is essential to life and is arguably our most precious resource. Without appropriate water management, whether in agriculture, industry, community development, or maintenance of a sustainable environment, we run the risk of over exploitation and contamination of this most essential commodity. The sustainable management of water is ever more critical with the increasing pressure from demographic and climate change.

Increasing populations are placing further demands on an already stressed global water supply. Human effects on the quality and quantity of water represent the single greatest threat to species, habitats and ecosystem functions around the world owing to their fundamental dependence on water.


As such, there is global demand for effective water resource managers and consultants with an appreciation of the challenges of effective environmental management within a range of sectors.

Successful water management is dependent on the development of integrated solutions. This requires social, political, institutional, legal and financial, as well as scientific, technical and environmental awareness and understanding.

Students interested in environmental or water resource management may have a range of backgrounds, including engineering, agriculture, environmental science or physical geography.

Career opportunities

Water resource professionals with a good integrated understanding of the diverse social and economic, as well as scientific factors of water resource management are highly sought after by employers.

Students undertaking further study in water resource management go onto a diverse range of careers with consultants, environmental regulators, non-government organisations (NGOs), government ministries, water companies and local authorities.

The rise in environmental issues such as climate change will ensure a growth in opportunities in this sector over coming years as water resources management becomes increasingly important to the sustainability of a range of industries.

Why postgraduate study?

Studying water resource management at postgraduate level provides students with access to the skilled science and research base that informs many policy decisions in this sector.

At postgraduate level, many universities also offer a combination of education and practical experience, gained through project or field work with professionals from industry. Students are able to specialise in key areas of interest and develop a competitive edge over other graduates.

Case study – Cranfield University

Water is a key specialism of Cranfield University. The respected Centre for Water Science is the UK’s largest postgraduate group specialising in the the science, engineering and management of water in municipal, industrial and natural environments.

The University’s water courses are a targeted response to the demand for skilled water professionals in the water and related sectors. Courses are designed to bring together teaching informed through world-class research; project work solving real-life challenges; and enhanced personal development through team working assignments.

There are a number of water-related programmes available at Cranfield including:

  • Water and Wastewater Engineering MSc
  • Water and Wastewater Technology MSc
  • Water Management MSc (with specialist options)
  • Water Processes - Advanced Professional Masters MTech

  • The programmes have been developed with a strong emphasis on applying knowledge and are taught in the context of real-life application. The major learning experience for full-time students is the group projects, which are applied team-based activities, solving real challenges in water resource management. They provide students with the opportunity, whilst working under academic supervision, to take responsibility for a consultancy type project. Success is dependent on the integration of various activities and working within agreed objectives, deadlines and budgets.

    For further information about Cranfield University’s water programmes, please contact Enquiries on +44 (0) 1234 754086, email or visit


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