Hydrology: A Comprehensive Overview

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Hydrology, the science of water, involves studying the properties, distribution, and circulation of water on and below the Earth’s surface and in the atmosphere. It is a crucial field that addresses water-related issues like drought, flood management, and environmental sustainability.

Current Outlook

The field of hydrology is growing, driven by global concerns such as climate change, water scarcity, and environmental protection. Hydrologists play an essential role in managing water resources, making this career both important and relevant in today’s world.

Salaries by Major Metro Area

  1. San Francisco, CA: $85,000 – $120,000
  2. New York, NY: $80,000 – $115,000
  3. Los Angeles, CA: $75,000 – $110,000
  4. Washington, DC: $70,000 – $105,000
  5. Seattle, WA: $68,000 – $100,000

Occupation FAQ

What degree is required for a career in hydrology?

Typically, a bachelor’s degree in environmental science, geology, or a related field is required.

What skills are essential for hydrologists?

Analytical skills, proficiency in data analysis and GIS software, and a strong foundation in the sciences.

Are there opportunities for advancement?

Yes, with experience and additional education, hydrologists can advance to senior or managerial roles.

Is fieldwork a significant part of the job?

Yes, many hydrologists spend a portion of their time conducting fieldwork in various environments.

Can hydrologists specialize in a particular area?

Yes, specializations include water quality, hydrogeology, and watershed management.

Pros and Cons


  1. Contribution to environmental sustainability.
  2. Diverse employment opportunities.
  3. Opportunities for fieldwork and travel.
  4. High demand in many regions.
  5. Interdisciplinary nature, combining elements of geology, biology, and engineering.


  1. Potential for physically demanding fieldwork.
  2. Work can be affected by weather and environmental conditions.
  3. High responsibility and pressure in water management.
  4. Need for continual learning and adaptation to new technologies.
  5. Some roles may require extensive travel and time away from home.

How to Find Work

  • Websites: Job boards like Indeed, Glassdoor, and LinkedIn.
  • Companies: Environmental consulting firms, governmental agencies (e.g., USGS, EPA), and NGOs.
  • Networking: Joining professional societies like the American Geophysical Union (AGU) can provide job leads and professional development opportunities.

Famous People in Hydrology

  1. John Wesley Powell: Known for his pioneering exploration and study of the Colorado River.
  2. Rafael L. Bras: A prominent hydrologist and academic.
  3. Luna Leopold: Son of Aldo Leopold, known for his contributions to fluvial geomorphology.
  4. Ismael Serageldin: Noted for his work on water management and sustainable development.
  5. Vijay P. Singh: An acclaimed expert in hydrology and water resources.

Well-Known Companies

  1. AECOM
  2. CH2M Hill/Jacobs Engineering
  3. Tetra Tech
  4. HDR Inc.
  5. Arcadis

Similar Occupations

  1. Environmental Scientist
  2. Geologist
  3. Civil Engineer (with a focus on water resources)
  4. Climatologist
  5. Environmental Consultant


Hydrology offers a challenging yet rewarding career path, especially pertinent in today’s context of environmental concerns and climate change. With a variety of work environments, the opportunity to contribute significantly to water resource management, and a growing job market, this field is ideal for those passionate about science and the environment.

Written by Jacob Peebles with support from EmployGPT