Studying to be a water expertWithin India, there are multiple undergraduate and post-graduate programmes to opt for if you are looking to build ...

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Studying to be a water expertWithin India, there are multiple undergraduate and post-graduate programmes to opt for if you are looking to build ...
Studying to be a water expert
Within India, there are multiple undergraduate and post-graduate programmes to opt for if you are looking to build a career as a water professional.

1. Water programmes at Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Shiv Nadar University, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) along with design programmes such as in CEPT University, Gujarat, prepare students for a multi-disciplinary career.

The Azim Premji University and Institute of Rural Management, Anand (IRMA) are also great places to start education in broad areas of development and rural management and then to specialise in water after these courses.

Course fee: INR 6 lakhs to INR 15 lakhs

2. Technical courses such as offered by the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), The National Institutes of Technology (NITs) and other institutes offering Civil Engineering Bachelors and Masters programmes in water resources are useful for a future career in water management and be sure to mix in some climate science courses to prepare you for the future.


Course fee: INR 8 lakhs to INR 12 lakhs

3. Careers in Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Blockchain on water are now supported by tech incubators International Centre for Clean Water (ICCW-IIT Chennai) with most of such programmes having an open competition followed by a supported programme.

Where do you go for water industry jobs?
Once you attain a qualification in specific areas of water management, what kind of jobs can you get? Do they pay well? Is there career growth?

Water is a national priority for most countries and therefore, being skilled in managing this precious resource is a skill-set that won’t go out of trend or demand soon.

1. NGOs and Multilateral agencies:

Entry positions on water in NGOs such as Pradan, Water Aid, Jal Bhagirathi Foundation, Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (India) - AKRSP(I) and UNICEF offer a range of positions for water specialists. These can be field roles, to data collection and analysis, to more strategic roles- like that of a programme manager.

2. Philanthropic institutions:
Water focused philanthropies such as Arghyam, Frank Water and Water Harvest and others such as Tata trusts and Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiatives (APPI) have focused water portfolios.

3. Startups and Social Enterprises:
Social innovation hubs such as Social Alpha and ICCW, water enterprises such as Piramal Sarvajal and WaterHealth, ioT Sensors and related startups focused on water metering (FluxGen, WaterOn, SmartTerra and others) and water testing (Heuristic Devices, Earthface Annalytics), water landscaping agencies such as Biome solutions are increasing avenues for jobs.

4. University and Research Institutions:
Organisations such as Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE) and The International Water Management Institute (IWMI) (multidisciplinary water science research), IISs/IITs (technical research) ICSSR (social science) and NGOs (applied research) employ early career water professionals as junior researchers or associates.

5. Water treatment, wastewater and agricultural water management industry:
Water supply (Gammon India), Agricultural water management (Jain Irrigation), wastewater and other areas (Consortium for DEWATS Dissemination (CDD) Society) are leading industrial sectors with positions in technology R&D, marketing, operations and management.

The range of remuneration in these profiles depends on the expertise you demonstrate and could be anywhere between INR 50,000 INR 125,000. They also offer research opportunities, international collaborations as well as exposure in national and international conferences.

Water is a complex and evolving subject. While there are lessons to be learnt from global experiences, India has its own unique set of challenges that needs creative and frugal solutioning.

It is therefore imperative for those walking into these careers to develop a keen understanding of technology, application as well as implementation. Connecting with global and national experts and staying abreast of research developments can go a long way in this journey.

The water challenge needs you and a million others to rise up to this challenge. On this water day, explore how you can make a difference. Go with the flow, and get ready for a rewarding career in water!

- Article by Dr Sunderrajan Krishnan, Member-Water Working Group, and Ganesh Shankar, Member-Smart Cities Working Group, IET Future Tech Panel