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What are the opportunities in water science and management?

When seen from depths of space, Earth appears as a blue sphere. This is because 70% of it made up of water. Despite this, today, the world is on the brink of a major water crisis on account of surging populations and climate change.

The situation is particularly grim in India. This June 19, Chennai city officials declared that ‘Day Zero’ – or the day when almost no water is left – had been reached. The city, teeming with millions, had finally run dry. Dried-out lake and rivers, schools and offices shut down on account of water paucity, and trains and tankers being used to transport water are suddenly becoming a new reality.

With the use of water growing faster than supply, people all over the world are appreciating the severity of the problem. And the field of water science and management is trying to met this challenge. Every year, countries and non-government organisations are coming together to hold summits and frame policies to tackle our imminent water woes.

So if you are interested in working for the cause of sustainable water management, the field of water science and management could be your calling.

How it works

Water science studies the molecules and properties of water to understand how it behaves. It seeks to answer questions such as ‘How does water climb up a tube?” and ‘Why does water take so long to heat?’ and with the world facing an imminent water crisis, the area of water science and conservation have come together in the field of water science and management. The main objective of this field is contributing to sustainable water management as well as exploring possibilities of making good water affordable and accessible.


After studying water science and management, you can obtain positions in a range of water-related jobs. You can find work opportunities at both policy as well as practice level in various agencies and bodies, both at Central and State levels. Water policy and management is one of the emerging areas in this field. You can work in government departments, non-governmental organisations and international agencies, or do further research. Some of the government departments working in this sector are Central Water Commission, central Soil and Material Research Station, Central Ground Water Board and the Flood Control Commissions.

Conservation is another area of interest. It looks at protecting and restoring damaged wetlands or freshwater sources. You can work with environment conservation agencies and think-tanks working to find solutions for water shortage.

Over the last few years, several start-ups have com up to stem the water-crisis in India. They are leveraging technology to help government, farmers and individuals save water.

What to study?

Depending on your interest, you can pick from a pool of diverse courses to study.



  • Shiv Nadar University, Uttar Pradesh: M.Sc in Water Science and Policy
  • The Energy and Resources Institute, Delhi: M.Sc Water Science and Governance and M.Tech Water Resource Engineering and Management
  • Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai: M.A./M.Sc in Water Policy and Governance
  • Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru: It has a centre for research in Water Science and Technology, offering M.Sc (Engg), Ph.D.


  • University of Oxford, the U.K.: Master of Philosophy in Water Science, Policy and Management
  • University of Southampton: M.Sc Water Resources Management
  • Van Hall Larenstein University, the Netherlands: B.Sc in Land and Water Management.


  • Hydrology
  • Water engineering
  • Water activism and advocacy

Required skills:

  • Interest in water conservation
  • Knowledge of water science
  • Awareness of the water problems facing the world
  • Research skills
  • Critical thinking
  • Observation and monitoring skills
  • Ability to come up with solutions


Picture Credit : Google

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