California Groundwater Intern

Environmental Defense Fund (EDF)
San Francisco, CA, United States
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
NGO/Civil Society
Experience Level: 
Not Specified


Please note: this job post has expired! To the best of our knowledge, this job is no longer available and this page remains here for archival purposes only.

EDF offers internships and fellowships for students and recent graduates in a variety of programs and departments throughout the organization. The ultimate goal of our internship and fellowship program is to provide high-quality experiences (including relevant projects and opportunities for networking) that form the foundation for any individual who is serious about pursuing an environmental career.

Ecosystems Overview

EDF envisions a future in which water laws, policies and social norms incentivize progress towards sustainability instead of penalizing it. That way, over time, we can ensure that our cities, farming communities and ecosystems become more resilient in the face of climate change and a growing population.

Overall Function

California’s highly variable hydrologic regime fluctuates from periods of extreme precipitation and flooding to years of severe drought that threaten urban, agricultural, and ecosystem demands. EDF seeks to understand how storm water capture and aquifer recharge may temper these dramatic swings in water supply availability. Multi-benefit management of groundwater recharge ponds can provide an opportunity for species, agriculture, and communities alike to benefit from strategic capture and storage of storm flows. The California Groundwater Intern will research relevant California water policies, the physical characterestics of the state water system, and key economic considerations to determine the potential of multi-benefit storage projects to augment water supply reliability. Internship work products will include 1.) a literature review of relevant water policy; 2.) an inventory of available runoff, recharge, and relevant economic data; and 3.)  a report summarizing research findings and gaps. The intern’s work this summer will build the foundation of an in-depth research project to be continued through May 2020.

Key Responsibilities

Tasks will include but are not limited to:

  • Research California water law and policies relating to surface water capture and storage and produce a literature review
  • Interview public agency staff and practioners to understand existing policy and management practices
  • Inventory existing data on surface water flows, recharge suitability, and likely drivers of demand
  • Develop contacts with key individuals at public agencies, academic institutions, NGOs
  • and other stakeholder groups
  • Build the research foundation for an in-depth spatial and economic analysis of multi-benefit recharge potential across California
  • Attend relevant external meetings and workshops
  • Support EDF’s California Water team on related projects when needed


  • Experience with self-directed research projects and project management.
  • Ability to communicate and transfer independent work to team projects.
  • Comfortable navigating public databases and synthesizing distributed information.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Must be well organized, motivated, and detail-oriented.
  • Ability to multi-task, prioritize and meet deadlines.
  • Demonstrate initiative and problem solving skills.
  • Highly proficient with GIS, R, Microsoft Excel, and/or other data management software.
  • Master’s degree, or pursuing advanced degree.


San Francisco, California


8-10 weeks during the summer


Full-time (35 hours/week)


This internship would involve either compensation for hourly work paid at a rate competitive with leading non-profits or academic credit. Students are encouraged to seek academic credit or funding through their college/university and EDF will ensure that any and all paperwork needed to secure academic credit is completed.

Application Materials

Interested applicants should attach their cover letter and resume to the EDF application, together with a writing sample and unofficial transcripts.