Posted: Tuesday 16th March 2010

Civil and Structural Engineers, Pinnacle believes the UK is facing a severe shortage of trained and experienced hydrologists. This warning is backed up by Dr Celia Kirby from the British Hydrology Society.

The company that specialises in site feasibility, flood risk assessment and sustainable drainage design has only recently been successful in appointing a hydrologist, having been actively recruiting for nearly six months.

According to Nick Kohli, Director at Pinnacle, the UK shortage of hydrologists is a real concern for the industry, “The dearth of hydrologists couldn’t have come at a worst time. With environmental changes having an increasing impact on water flow and the risk of flooding, coupled with the need to provide sustainable drainage, the importance of qualified and experienced hydrologists has never been so crucial.”

Nick continued, “This shortage also comes at a time when the UK is faced with the highest rate of graduate unemployment for over a decade.”

Hydrologists are involved in the monitoring, management and protection of water and water resources. They ensure the effective flow of water through channels and pipes for the engineering and control of water provision and runoff management. Their work contributes to the efficient planning, development and sustainable use of water resources, ensuring water is managed in the most cost-effective manner.

Hydrologists use detailed data sources, computer modeling packages and other resources to collect, analyse and interpret data. They play a key role in ensuring the safe, sustainable and environmentally sound management of natural and domestic water resources.

“In an ideal world, Pinnacle would employ two hydrologists with hands-on modelling experience. We have now managed to recruit one experienced hydrologist following months of searching but l am concerned at the length of time that it may take to fill the other vacant position,” said Nick.

“Typically, Universities running an MSc in Hydrology and Water Resources Management, Hydrology & Sustainable Development or Hydrology & Business Management will consider candidates with a good first degree in a relevant science or engineering subjects,” explains Nick.

“The course usually takes twelve months and is available at a number of Universities including Imperial College London, University of Bristol and Heriot Watt University, to name but a few.

“The industry must pull together to raise awareness of hydrology as a career and work with individuals to offer financial support, work placements and support with research projects. There is no substitute for ‘on the job experience’ in hydrology and Pinnacle is keen to actively support both qualified hydrologists and those interested in obtaining an MSc in Hydrology,” says Nick.

Hydrology draws on a number of physical and life sciences such as meteorology, plant physiology, soil physics and geology, and a number of mathematical sciences such as fluid mechanics, probability, statistics and systems analysis.

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