Assistant Groundwater Section Manager

Oregon Water Resources Department

Salem, OR, USA


Assistant Groundwater Section Manager

Oregon’s 2021 Legislature passed a landmark water package, including significant investment in studying the physical hydrogeology of the state.  The Groundwater Section of the Oregon Water Resources Department is seeking an assistant groundwater section manager to manage a statewide observation well drilling program, several cooperative studies, and section hydrogeologists applying their technical knowledge to administer the state’s water rights system.

The assistant groundwater section manager position is a great opportunity for a mid-career hydrogeologist or project manager interested in working in the clean water sector.  This position provides a mix of staff management and project management, including opportunities to visit field sites and engage in public meetings across the state.

The ideal candidate will hold a graduate degree in hydrogeology or a related field with coursework in groundwater hydraulics and geology.  An understanding of the source of water to wells and models suitable for quantifying streamflow depletion by wells is important.  Strong analytical, project management, and communication skills are critical.  Licensure as a Registered Geologist (RG) will allow the ideal candidate to operate as the RG in responsible charge of junior hydrogeologists who are Geoloigsts in Training (GITs), while project management experience will allow the ideal candidate to successfully oversee more than $1M in drilling and professional service contracts annually.  The desire to apply your knowledge in a water supply and water law context will ensure sustained engagement in this position.

Oregon Water Resources Department

Our Mission

To serve the public by practicing and promoting responsible water management.

Core Values

  • Integrity – We are accountable for all that we do.  We act with honesty and promote transparency.
  • Service – We are dedicated to providing outstanding service and treating everyone equitably in our management and stewardship of state resources.
  • Technical Excellence – We base our resource decisions on law, science, and expertise.
  • Teamwork – We are united in our mission, relying on one another and working together with the communities we serve.
  • Forward-Looking – We seek innovative and practical solutions to the water challenges of today and tomorrow.

2019-2024 Strategic Plan

 The Oregon Water Resources Department’s strategic priorities for 2019-2024 are to:

•           Modernize our management of Oregon’s surface water and groundwater resources to meet instream and out-of-stream uses

•           Work to secure Oregon’s instream and out-of-stream water future in the face of increasing water scarcity

•           Foster a forward-looking team dedicated to serving Oregonians with integrity and excellence


The Oregon Water Resources Department strives to build and sustain an inclusive environment that embraces and values diversity. Employees at all levels of the agency work together to foster fairness, equity, inclusion, and belonging. We do not discriminate based on race, color, national origin, ethnicity, veteran, gender, sexual orientation, religion, age, or physical or mental disability. Candidates from diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

Position Information

This position is full-time, permanent, and located in Salem with remote option flexibility. Some in-state travel. Position is Management Service-Supervisory and not represented by a union.


This position exists in the Groundwater Section of the Technical Services Division.  The groundwater section supports the agency’s mission “to serve the public by practicing and promoting responsible water management” through implementation of the Groundwater Act of 1955 (ORS 537.505 to 537.795 and 537.992) and related administrative rules.  Groundwater section staff  participate in all facets of the agency’s core work as described in its 2019 strategic plan; they are the primary entity responsible for collecting groundwater data statewide, organizing and interpreting that data, and applying that data and information to support groundwater right transactions (supporting the Water Rights Services Division), the distribution and regulation of groundwater (supporting the Field Services Division), and planning efforts to meet future groundwater needs (supporting the Policy and Planning Sections).

 The groundwater section contributes directly to advancing Recommended Action Items 1a (Conduct Additional Groundwater Investigations), 1b (Improve Water Resources Data Collection and Monitoring), 1c (Coordinate Inter-Agency Data Collection, Processing, and Use), and 11e (Develop Additional Groundwater Protections) of the State’s 2017 Integrated Water Resources Strategy.

The Oregon Water Resources Department seeks to promote a workplace culture that understands and appreciates differences among people, utilizes that understanding and appreciation to improve our services, and fosters a work culture that is welcoming and inclusive to all.


The primary purpose of this position is to manage the observation well drilling program, and manage and coordinate staff and financial resources for basin studies and other cooperative and contract studies across Oregon.  This position, in coordination with the Groundwater Section manager, develops and executes procedures to construct, instrument, and monitor observation wells across Oregon, including work with Administrative Services Division staff on contracts and purchasing for contract drilling services and supplies.  This position contracts archaeological surveys, coordinates with the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), and consults with potentially affected Tribes.  Contracts, purchase orders, and IGAs are technically and administratively complex, and require skilled professionals to process through to completion.  This position fosters an atmosphere of teamwork, technical excellence, and a forward-looking environment where staff are encouraged to evaluate new technology and streamline section processes.

This position supervises up to 7 Groundwater Section staff, and is directly responsible for ensuring data collection, data analyses, and report writing occurs on-time and on-budget.  This position handles coordination with study partners, including the USGS, DOGAMI, tribal and local governments, watershed councils, and conservation groups. The position must successfully synthesize information from different fields of expertise and sections with OWRD to ensure the best available scientific data are evaluated and used in basin studies.

This position also supports general operations of the Groundwater Section, including assistance with complex application review, contested case and litigation support, and complex issue technical support and resolution. This position assumes the role of Section Manager when the manager is absent.

This position will perform work with our core values in mind. The person in this position performs duties in a manner that promotes customer service and teamwork, including treating all persons courteously and respectfully and exhibiting behavior that is encouraging and flexible with co-workers and customers who may have different styles.

This position engages in effective team participation by exhibiting integrity and striving for technical excellence, including a willingness to assist and support co-workers, supervisors, and other work-related associations.  This position develops good working relationships with division and agency staff through active participation in accomplishing the agency mission and resolving problems in a constructive manner and maintains a forward-looking attitude to continual improvement.  This position demonstrates openness to constructive feedback to strengthen work performance; and contributes to a positive, respectful, and productive work environment.

Minimum Qualifications – Principal Executive Manager – D
Six years of experience in supervision, staff-technical, or professional-level work related to water resources management.

Two years of this experience must have included program/project leader responsibility involving one or more of the following areas: a) development of program rules and policies, b) development of long- and short-range goals and plans, c) program evaluation and/or project evaluation, or
d) monitoring and controlling or preparing a budget.

(NOTE: A Bachelor’s degree or equivalent course work (144 quarter or 96 semester hours) in a related field related to management, such as Business or Public Administration, or a field related to the program of the employing agency, may be substituted for three years of the required experience, but will not substitute for the two years of specialized experience.

Desired Qualifications

  • Licensure by the Oregon State Board of Geologist Examiners as a Registered Geologist.
  • Experience managing projects and overseeing drilling and professional service contractors.

Note:  In addition to your related work experience and education, we will use both the minimum and desired qualifications above to determine whom to interview. Please make sure all your relevant qualifications are clearly demonstrated in your application materials. Your application materials may be evaluated on spelling, grammar, punctuation, attention to detail, and presentation.

Working Conditions

Frequent office work. Occasional lifting up to 50 lbs; occasional contact with hostile or angry people; up to several months annually of overnight travel for public meetings and field work in possible inclement weather, including below freezing conditions; rare overnight outdoor work in isolated rural environments; occasional work around large motors and heavy equipment.  Driving long distances to remote meeting and field locations in all types of weather and road conditions.


The table below shows the monthly salary ranges for each classification level included in this posting.

NON-PERS ELIGIBLE (Includes most new hires to state government. Employees typically gain PERS eligibility after six months of state service.

PEM-D            $5,559 – $8,598 Monthly

PERS ELIGIBLE (Typically current or former employees of Oregon state or local government, public schools, universities, etc.)

PEM-D            $5,944 – $9,196 Monthly

How to Apply:

Provide a brief (no more than 1 page) cover letter indicating why you are interested in, and a good candidate for, the PEM-D assistant groundwater section manager position at the Oregon Water Resources Department. Provide a brief (no more than 2 page) resume indicating your experience pertinent to the required and desired qualifications in this announcement.

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Important: Please monitor both your email and Workday account for updates regarding this recruitment. You may be asked to submit additional information after initial application. If you have questions about this job posting, please contact Human Resources at [email protected]

Current State of Oregon employees must apply through your employee Workday account.

Work Authorization

The Oregon Water Resources Department does not offer visa sponsorships. Within three days of hire, all applicants will be required to complete the US Department of Homeland Security Form I-9, confirming authorization to work in the United States.

Veterans – If you are an eligible veteran and you meet the qualifications, veterans’ preference points will be added to your score. For more information on veterans’ preference points visit and select Veterans resources under Resources. Please do not attach veteran documentation to your initial application, after you have applied you will be sent a task in your Workday account to provide your veteran documentation at that time.

The Oregon Water Resources Department is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action Employer Committed to Workforce Diversity.