The UK's official graduate careers website
: Job description
Hydrogeologists study the distribution, flow and quality of water underground (as opposed to hydrologists who are primarily concerned with surface water). This involves:
interpreting technical data and information from maps and historical documents to build a conceptual model of groundwater flow and quality;
designing and completing an investigation (which may include environmental measurement and sampling or an ongoing monitoring regime) in order to confirm or develop the model;
using modelling techniques to enable predictions to be made about future trends and impacts on groundwater flow and quality.
The work of a hydrogeologist ultimately leads to better management of natural resources or better protection of the groundwater.
Typical work activities
The work of a hydrogeologist can vary considerably according to the sector, employer and area of specialism, but general work activities may include:
applying a knowledge of fundamental geology to develop an understanding of how the rock types and structure in an area impact on groundwater occurrence and movement;
understanding and interpreting maps, geographical data, historical evidence and models to build up a picture of the groundwater regime and/or land contamination, often based on incomplete information;
using computers to model groundwater flow, chemistry and temperature according to geological formations, surface water flow and man-made influence;
undertaking field work and site visits for investigative and monitoring purposes;
designing and commissioning boreholes, and sampling and measuring groundwater and surface water;
undertaking environment impact assessments of groundwater abstraction and management activities;
analysing collected information to assess and/or predict the impact of activities such as landfills, construction developments, mining or agriculture on groundwater quality and resource availability;
liaising with other hydrogeologists, hydrologists, ecologists, engineers and other professionals in related fields;
ensuring compliance with environmental legislation and keeping up to date with technological and legislative developments;
writing reports for clients, which can be understood by people who don’t necessarily have a technical background;
answering technical queries and providing advice to clients and the public in writing and over the telephone;
managing projects and contractors;
working within health and safety guidelines.
Hydrogeologists working for charities and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) overseas may be involved in:
finding new water supplies for remote villages or refugee camps;
siting new wells;
testing water quality;
protecting water supplies from pollution;
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