Senior Water Resources and Floods Management Specialist

The World Bank
Sofia, Bulgaria
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
International Organization
Experience Level: 
Senior (10+ Years)
Degree Required: 
Advanced Degree (Master's or JD)


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Established in 1944, the WBG is one of the world’s largest sources of funding and knowledge for development solutions. In fiscal year 2018, the WBG committed $67 billion in loans, grants, equity investments and guarantees to its members and private businesses, of which $24 billion was concessional finance to its poorest members. It is governed by 188-member countries and delivers services out of 120 offices with more than 16,000 staff located globally.

Global Practices & Cross-Cutting Solutions Areas

The World Bank’s GPs are: Agriculture; Education; Energy and Extractives; Environment and Natural Resources; Finance and Markets; Governance; Health, Nutrition and Population; Macroeconomics and Fiscal Management; Poverty; Social Protection and Labor; Social, Urban, Rural and Resilience; Trade and Competitiveness; Transport and ICT; and Water. The new operating model is part of a broader internal reform aimed at delivering the best of the World Bank Group to our clients, so that together we can achieve the twin goals of: (1) ending extreme poverty by 2030, and (2) promoting shared prosperity for the bottom 40% of the population in every developing country.

Six of the World Bank’s GPs are grouped under the Sustainable Development Practice Group (SDPG), including Agriculture; Energy and Extractives; Environment and Natural Resources; Social, Urban, Rural and Resilience; Transport and ICT; and Water. The SDGP is led by a Vice President for Sustainable Development; in most of the Bank’s CMUs, the coordination of the work of the GPs is facilitated by a SD Program Leader based within the CMU team.

The Water Global Practice

Water resources are under unprecedented and increasing pressures, driven by greater climate variability, population and economic growth, land use changes, and declining quantities and qualities of both ground and surface waters.  With cross cutting impacts on agriculture, education, energy, health, gender equity, and livelihood, water is an essential resource for all life on the planet and is at the center of economic and social development.  Climate change expresses itself through water and sound water management lies at the heart of the resilience agenda. Successful water management requires accurate knowledge of the resource available and an assessment of competing demands for its usage. Making best use of available supplies requires complex and sensitive economic, environmental and socio-political trade-offs. Planning for a more uncertain and more constrained water environment in the future only makes the situation more complex.

The world will not be able to meet the great development challenges of the 21st century - human development, livable cities, climate change, food security, energy security, and universal access to services – unless we ensure a water-secure world for all. To achieve this goal the Global Practice works on both water resource management and service delivery issues but in a context where we focus on water in the context of the broader economy.   

The WBG is in a unique position to help governments take such an integrated and strategic approach to solve water supply, sanitation, water resource, hydropower, and irrigation problems through partnership, finance and knowledge.  The Water GP places Water Resource Management (hydrology, economics, storage, groundwater use, rivers and deltas), Service Delivery (to households, businesses and farmers), and an understanding of water in the context of the broader economy at the center of its efforts to help countries address the challenge of managing water.  The Water GP seeks to ensure that water issues are effectively addressed in all related sub-sectors, such as agriculture (ensuring sustainable water availability for irrigation; managing the trade-offs around the agricultural use of water), disaster risk management (floods and droughts), energy (hydropower; energy cooling systems), management of rivers and deltas, and water supply & sanitation (rural and urban; utility performance; wastewater management; targeting the poor).  In each sub sector an integrated approach is adopted which considers investment and operations in the context of governance, institutions and policies.

The Water Global Practice is organized with: (a) region-facing Practice Managers (PMs) covering Africa, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, East Asia Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, Middle East and North Africa, and South Asia; (b) a Practice Manager for Portfolio management, strategy and operations, and (c) five cross-cutting Global Solutions Groups (GSGs): (i) water and sanitation services (WSS), (ii) water resource management (WRM); (iii) water economics; (iv) water in agriculture; and (v) hydropower and dams.

The WTR GP also has strong external partnerships and houses the Global Water Security and Sanitation Program (GWSP) and the 2030 Water Resources Group as integrated with our operational programs and leadership structure.  In addition, the WTR GP also builds on several regional programs.

The Water GP engagement in Europe

GWA03 is the unit covering the Europe and Central Asia engagement of the water GP. The unit brings together about 35 staff (half of which in Washington DC), covering an existing project portfolio of 40+projects and overall commitments of 3.3billion USD, and a pipeline of 7 new operations over the next two years. The unit also manages two important regional programs, the Central Asia Energy and Water Development Program and the Danube Water Program.

Over the last years, the demand from clients in Central and Eastern Europe has been shifting from traditional infrastructure lending, to a broader set of services around the concept of water security and water management, including technical assistance and reimbursable advisory services, in addition to sector-wide programs.

The Bank has recently agreed with the Government of Bulgaria to support the preparation of the country’s next generation of River Basin Management Plans and Flood Risk Management Plans under the respective EU directives. This support is implemented under a “reimbursable advisory services” (RAS) arrangement in which the Bank makes its technical expertise available to the Client on a reimbursable basis. GWA03 is the lead unit in responding to this request, alongside units covering Environment and Disaster Risk Management dimensions.

To respond to those changing demands and in particular the Bulgarian Government’s request, the Bank is seeking to recruit additional staff with specific competences, expertise and professional experience relevant to the assignment.


The Sr. Flood Specialist, under the leadership of the TTL and co TTL will primarily supervise the team tasked with supporting the preparation of Bulgaria’s four Flood Risks Management Plans, in close coordination with the team preparing the parallel River Basin Management Plans and under the general oversight of the assignment leader (responsible for the preparation of the River Basin Management Plans). His/Her main role will be to supervise, provide written inputs and guide the work of the team working on the different steps leading to the elaboration of the 2nd cycle of the FRMPs due under the EU Floods Directive. Namely he/she will supervise : the elaboration of the Preliminary Flood risk assessment and the identification of the Areas of potential and significant flood risk (APSFRs), the preparation of the Flood hazard and risk assessment and Flood risk maps, and finally the elaboration of the FRMPs and associated PoMs. For all these deliverables she/he will also provide written contributions. He/she will furthermore join the ECA water team’s engagement on Floods/ water resources management primarily in the EU sphere of influence (EU member states, EU candidates and potential candidates, and association agreement countries). He/she will support the unit in the implementation and delivery of identified investment lending operations, help to curate and generate knowledge (with support of the GSGs on WRM) to improve the effectiveness of the portfolio, participate in business development and support the teams in enhancing partnerships within and outside the WBG.

The appointee will report to the GWA03 Practice Manager and will work, out of the World Bank Sofia office, closely with staff from the unit and beyond located across ECA and in Washington DC. The appointee will also maintain an indirect accountability to the Practice Managers responsible for Environment and Disaster Risk Management, which are co-responsible for the successful implementation of the RAS.

Specific duties will include:

  • Under the supervision of the TTL and the Co- TTL, supervise, on behalf of the Bank, the support to the preparation by the Government of Bulgaria of its four Flood Risks Management Plans (FRMPs). This will involve, among other things:

1.Guide the team of Bank staff and consultants tasked with the assignment in collaboration with the WRM specialist working on the RBMPs;

2.Maintain close and constant communication with the Client’s management and technical staff and any other relevant stakeholder and institutions both in Bulgaria and beyond;

3.Ensure effective collaboration of all team members with the authorities of the Government of Bulgaria and other relevant stakeholders, including the European Commission;

4.Ensure the identification, selection and supervision of the work of any contracted company or individual necessary to complete the assignment;

5.Direct, coordinate and consolidate the inputs of many different involved parties into a coherent set of deliverables for the Client, of which own contribution is expected to be a significant portion;

6.Provide input, ensure the preparation and ensure the overall quality and compliance of the deliverables with the terms of the RAS agreement, international best practices and the relevant legislation, including among other:

-Provide input and lead the preparation of detailed ToRs and technical specifications for the activities that are to be implemented under the project;

-Establish a coherent work plan for the team and ensure integration of activities (detailed implementation plan, work schedule, and staffing schedule);

-Propose outline of the main reports and ensure timely delivery and consistency of working papers and other text contributions of the team members;

-Throughout the RAS implementation and preparation of deliverables, consolidate draft inputs from the team members into the planned deliverables (draft and final reports);

-Draft substantial sections of the RAS planned deliverables and ensure quality of the final reports (e.g., including updates agreed following Bank’s review process and Client’s comments);

-Ensure timely submission of the deliverables and the inputs to the semestrial progress reports to the Client;

-Observe field activities of the team and monitor the progress of the implementation of the work plan; instruct any corrective measure;

-Address any key strategic issues that need attention if the activity is unlikely to achieve its purpose;

7.Work with the experts focused on the river basin management plans (under the oversight of the RBMP lead) and explore and facilitate synergies among the two task teams.

  • Support, as a team member, other high-visibility Reimbursable Advisory Services and/or technical assistance or operational initiatives around water management, flood management and EU legislation compliance challenges, including:

1.Support, as a team leader or member, the ECA water team’s efforts to deliver new high-impact lending operations, as well as successfully implement on-going operations.

2.Lead or participate in the development of relevant analytical work on WRM and flood management issues as needed and identified.

3.Support the ECA water team’s efforts to enhance learning, exchange and communications on WRM and flood management related issues.

4.In close coordination with the rest of the ECA water team and its Practice Manager, other GPs and the respective CMUs, develop new business in the WRM, flood management and water security fields, among others.

5.Coordinate and help maintain key internal partnerships including with other GSGs and GPs.

6.Manage and support partnership initiatives with internal and external stakeholders, including detailed follow-up on strategic discussions, and organization of events or other activities.

7.Other relevant tasks as requested by the unit’s Practice Manager.



Selection Criteria


Minimum Education Requirements

Master’s degree in civil or environmental engineering, economics, institutional development, water resources management, or other fields relevant for water sector development.


  • 10 years of relevant professional experience in Water Resource Management, mainly focused on floods and disaster risk management part of it in an EU context. 
  • Demonstrated significant relevant knowledge and professional experience in EU context with preliminary flood risk assessment and the preparation of flood hazard maps and flood risk maps.
  • Demonstrate technical knowledge on the field of floods mapping and modeling: DTM, Lidar,..
  • Demonstrated complex, multi-sector project and team leadership experience.
  • Successful involvement in the preparation and/or implementation of EU FRM compliant Flood Risk Management Plans, preferably in a leading or at least coordinating role.
  • Familiarity with European environmental and water acquis (Flood Directive, Water Framework Directive and daughter directives) and their implementation in Member States.
  • Demonstrated track record of bringing together analytical work, policy advice and operational activities to support clients in responding to a broad water security agenda.
  • Significant understanding of European environmental requirements.
  • Prior involvement, preferably in leading role, in stakeholder engagement and complex stakeholder consultations processes.
  • Effective communication and timely and high-quality report writing skills are essential to this assignment.
  • Land use experience is an advantage.

WB Operations Cross Cutting Competencies

  • Integrative Skills: Integrates divergent viewpoints of multiple external and internal stakeholders into a coherent project/program/strategy.
  • Policy Dialogue Skills:  Is able to translate broad policy objectives into concrete development proposals. Has a track record of conducting effective policy dialogue with country counterparts.  Facilitates and organizes intra and inter- sectoral teams, international experts to debate and exchange ideas on key issues. Has ability to communicate and defend orally and in writing difficult issues and positions (including in a hostile environment, as necessary) to senior bank management and government officials. Actively promotes dialogue with relevant counterparts, the donor community, the private sector, government officials, as well as with civil society.
  • Knowledge and Experience in Development Arena:  Translates technical and cross-country knowledge into practical applications and contributions to country and sector strategies.  Interacts with clients at the policy level.
  • Written and Verbal Communication Skills:  Demonstrates the ability to influence and persuade others to accept ideas and suggestions (such as counterparts in government, international partner organizations, academia, and Bank colleagues, senior staff and managers).