Many who currently work in the water industry, arrived there by chance. In the past, planning for a career in industrial water rarely topped the list. Recently this trend has changed. Current generations are much more aware of environmental issues and they seek out eco-friendly companies and brands that have a strong commitment to sustainable practices. The number one threat to business development is access to fresh water. As a result, businesses are focused on improving how they use and manage water so they can meet the growing industrial demands while simultaneously reducing their water footprint. Those who are starting out on their career path are beginning to look for water-related degrees and positions to help tackle these issues.
Why is better water management so important?
Water is one of the most important substances on earth. Our bodies can’t exist without water, agriculture and industrial processes are water intensive. The amount of water on our planet has not changed, and we continue to process and reuse the same water that has existed since the dinosaurs walked the earth. The amount of fresh water on earth used to be enough, however, changing climate patterns and our growing population has resulted in increased freshwater usage – we are depleting our usable supply. Currently 2 billion people live in countries with high water stress.(1) Water demand is projected to grow by 55 percent by 2050 (including a 400-percent rise in manufacturing water demand).(2) Our demands continue to grow, yet the amount of water remains the same.
What degrees lend themselves to a career in water?
The water crisis is creating a broad spectrum of roles related to water. Engineers, research scientists, conservationists, sustainability experts, communicators, marketers, public health officers, and many other roles are invaluable to helping manage our water resources.
The Association of Water Technologies (AWT)
noted that degrees such as chemistry, engineering, biology, environmental science and environmental engineering all lend themselves well to water treatment careers. Many local schools and colleges are offering water-related degrees. You can see some of these opportunities at: Training for a Career in Water.
How does Watertech play a role in inspiring future generations to have an impact on water?
To help inspire an interest in the water industry, AWT has assembled lessons geared toward middle and high school students. Watertech hopes to spend more time working with students to share AWT’s STEM education lessons. These lessons focus on real world scenarios and give the students the opportunity to work in groups to do water testing and analyze results. Students respond well to experiential learning and the lessons help raise awareness and spark an interest in water. Watertech employee and AWT Board Member, Matt Jensen, recently met with students at Bay Harbor Elementary school in Howard, WI to discuss how scale buildup affects heat transfer and ways that we use and manage water. Matt was not sure what to expect, as this was a younger audience than what the materials are geared toward. He was impressed by the level of engagement and questions asked by the students. Matt noted “It felt really great to be in the classroom setting and work with the kids. They asked a lot of questions and were genuinely interested to learn about water. It was rewarding to inspire them to think about water differently. I really had a great time and look forward to future opportunities in the classroom.”
Watertech is also proud to reward those pursuing careers in water through the The Watertech of America Scholarship in memory of Eugene Vanden Heuvel.
Gene was the founder of Watertech and a mentor to many in the industry including Watertech’s current president and owner, Joe Russell. Joe set up this scholarship to honor Gene and continue his legacy of mentorship and passion for the industry. Each year the scholarship is awarded to 3-4 graduate level students at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee’s School of Freshwater sciences. The UWM School of Freshwater Sciences is the nation's only graduate school dedicated solely to the study of freshwater.
Our kids are tomorrow's research scientists, plant operators, engineers and stewards of the environment
Managing water resources can be challenging. Water and life cycles are connected and how we use and manage water impacts our ability for growth and development. Future generations will need to continue to work toward finding new technologies and treatment methods to manage this precious resource so we can meet the needs of our growing population. Watertech takes pride in doing what we can to inspire growth in the industry and awareness about how water impacts our lives.
If you would like to learn more about careers in water, please see the links below: