Principal Water Resources Engineer

University of California-San Diego

Santa Rosa, CA, USA 🇺🇸

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Under general direction of the Principal Investigator, the Principal Water Resources Engineer will plan, develop and execute advanced water resource engineering solutions to implement research objectives for the Forecast Informed Reservoir Operations (FIRO) program. Provides leadership and critical support for water resource engineering, reservoir operations modeling, reservoir operations design, and hydrologic analysis at CW3E. Directs concept development by managing and leading the design, development, testing, and application of reservoir operations models in order to control the quantity of water with the main goal of meeting human and ecological needs. Performs analysis and calculations of advanced complexity to model reservoir operations for a variety of operational goals and constraints and develops a reservoir operations decision support system based on contemporary approaches such as the Ensemble Forecast Operations (EFO) for managing multi-purpose reservoir operations. Provides and manages a decision support framework that could be adapted and applied to other multi-purpose reservoir operations and systems of reservoirs. Responsible for the process and maintenance of reservoir operations modeling framework. Stays informed of reservoir modeling technology and, as needed create the new cutting edge multi-purpose reservoir modeling system relevant to FIRO projects and implementing that knowledge. Provides documentation, reporting, and publication of experimental results. Contributes and owns responsibility for report writing related to project deliverables. Represents PI with sponsoring agencies and organizations in engineering and technology aspects of water resource engineering. Represents CW3E in regular follow-up meetings with multiple partner organizations and agencies, presents results to partners, conducts project trainings and delivers presentations at conferences.

Having wide-ranging experience uses advanced modeling concepts to develop an adaptable decision support framework for FIRO. Modeling projects are significant in terms of scope, complexity, impact, and budget. Responsibilities encompass leading a considerable initiative to model flood control operations nationwide. Considered a subject matter expert at CW3E and often recognized as an expert externally in the industry. Exercise independent judgment in selecting methods, techniques, and evaluation criteria for obtaining results.


  • Expert skills associated with being recognized as subject matter expert in field. Expert skills in water resource engineering, reservoir operations modeling, reservoir operations design and hydrologic analysis.
  • Expert knowledge associated with the planning, development, and construction of most complex and significant engineering projects and initiatives. Expert knowledge in the development of contemporary approaches to risk-based multi-purpose reservoir operations modeling that incorporate ensemble streamflow predictions (ESPs) such as the Ensemble Forecast Operations (EFO) model.
  • Advanced interpersonal and presentation skills. Proven ability to work with and manage projects with a diversity of people and a wide range of skill sets. Ability to present technical topics to a mixed and diverse audience.
  • In-depth and advanced knowledge of the engineering field. Applies principles, practices and procedures within discipline to complete most difficult, complex and significant assignments. Expert programming skills and knowledge of computational standards in order to execute, evaluate, improve the water resource engineering plans and studies.
  • Advanced project management skills to assume responsibility for accomplishment of research objectives that are significant to the Campus and industry. Has proven ability to implement risk-based multi-purpose reservoir operations modeling as part of water control manual minor and major deviation requests and as part of FIRO, altering how water is managed at reservoirs.
  • Advanced communication skills, both written and verbal, to convey complex information in a clear and concise manner. Proven ability to communicate with a diversity of audiences on the planned studies and results of the risk-based multi-purpose reservoir operations modeling system as it relates to FIRO.
  • Ability to work in a highly collaborative manner with both internal and external constituencies; readily assess complex challenges and barriers and recommend effective resolutions. Ability to work with multiple different agencies towards a common objective as it applies to water resource engineering.
  • Demonstrated ability to lead, motivate and influence others on projects of significance. Ability to lead working groups and ensure deliverables are met. Ability to delegate within the working groups and bring additional expertise to the problem as needed.
  • Ability to execute large and complex work assignments in order to meet deadlines and ensure adherence to quality standards. Proven ability to prioritize and plan studies and model development in timelines that meet project deliverables. Ability to delegate parts of the project to achieve the goals and meet deadlines.
  • Experienced in high-level scripting and interactive programming languages such as Python, Matlab and IDL.
  • Experienced in software that simulate reservoir operations and river analysis such as HEC-ResSim and HEC-RAS. Proficient with software application development including FORTRAN, Java, C++, and Visual Basic programming languages.


  • Must be willing and able to travel. Work Location is Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, CA.

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Job offer is contingent on successful engagement in the UC COVID-19 Vaccination program (fully vaccinated with documented proof or approved exception/deferral).

The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age, protected veteran status, gender identity or sexual orientation. For the complete University of California nondiscrimination and affirmative action policy see:

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IHE Delft Institute for Water Education - MSc in Water and Sustainable Development