Dam Specialist

The World Bank
Washington, DC, United States
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
International Organization
Experience Level: 
Mid-Level (5-7 Years)
Degree Required: 
Advanced Degree (Master's or JD)


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Established in 1944, the World Bank Group (WBG) is one of the world’s largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries. It uses financial resources and extensive experience to help our client countries to reduce poverty, increase economic growth, and improve quality of life. To ensure that countries can access the best global expertise and help generate cutting-edge knowledge, the World Bank Group is constantly seeking to improve the way it works. Key priorities include delivering measurable results, promoting openness and transparency in development, and improving access to development information and data. Innovation and partnership bond the five institutions of the World Bank Group (WBG): the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA), which together form the World Bank; the International Finance Corporation (IFC); the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA); and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). The World Bank Group is one of the world's largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries.

The World Bank Group (WBG)’s twin goals of ending extreme poverty and promoting shared prosperity reflect a new global landscape: one in which developing countries have an unprecedented opportunity to end extreme poverty within a generation.


As the world’s largest multilateral source of financing for water in developing countries, the World Bank is working closely with partners to achieve “A Water-Secure World for All,” by sustaining water resources, delivering services and building resilience.

Water is at the center of economic and social development: it is vital to maintain health, grow food, generate energy, manage the environment, and create jobs. Water availability and management impacts whether poor girls are educated, whether cities are healthy places to live, and whether growing industries or poor villages can withstand the impacts of floods or droughts.

Water security is among the top global risks in terms of development impact. It is also an integral part to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The world will not be able to meet the sustainable development challenges of the 21st century — human development, livable cities, climate change, food security, and energy security — without improving management of water resources and ensuring access to reliable water and sanitation services.

Of the 2.1 billion people who do not have access to safely managed water, 844 million do not have even a basic drinking water service. Of the 4.5 billion people who do not have safely managed sanitation, 2.3 billion still do not have basic sanitation services. As a result, every year, 361,000 children under 5 years of age die due to diarrhea related to poor sanitation and contaminated water, which are also linked to transmission of diseases such as cholera, dysentery, hepatitis A, and typhoid. Water supply and sanitation is just one aspect of the broader water agenda.

The World Bank is the largest external source of financing for water supply and sanitation projects and has a large and growing portfolio in irrigation and water resource management. With a portfolio of water investments of US$41.4 billion (US$29.4 billion of water-sector projects and US$12 billion of multi-sector projects related to water), the World Bank is uniquely positioned to achieve the vision of a water secure world for all, developing and sharing global knowledge while amplifying the impact of lending through technical assistance on the ground.


The World Bank’s Water Global Practice (GP) is mandated to ensure that water issues are effectively addressed in all related sub-sectors, such as agriculture (ensuring sustainable water availability for irrigation), disaster risk management, energy (hydropower), and water supply & sanitation (rural and urban, assisting utilities on efficiency and financial sustainability; targeting the poor). In each sub sector an integrated approach is adopted which considers investment alongside issues such as governance, institutions and policies.

Water resources planning and management is a critical element for sustainable growth and poverty reduction for most of the World Bank’s borrowers. Dams are important contributors to the development of many countries. They improve and expand irrigation, domestic and industrial water supplies, power generation, and provide security against droughts and protection from floods. The Bank portfolio of lending and non-lending for projects that include dams is large and growing; there are over 200 projects with a significant dam component or dependent on performance of upstream existing dams. Because there are serious consequences if a dam does not function properly or fails, the Bank is concerned about the safety of new dams it finances and existing dams on which a Bank-financed project is directly dependent.

Dam Safety management is one of the key instruments to support Strategic Action Plan for Water of the World Bank. Dam safety supports the water strategic pillar of Sustaining Water Resources through securing water storage and the strategic pillar of Build Resilience through flood management for river basins. The objective of the dam safety management is to provide policy advices and technical support on safety of dams to ensure the Bank Safeguards Policy on Safety of Dams (OP4.37) and the new Environmental and Social Framework (ESF) are properly addressed and implemented; and serve for the Water GP strategy of sustain water resources and building resilience by providing technical support to improve water resources planning and management for the Bank projects.

The Dam Specialist will be based in Headquarters of the World Bank in Washington DC, USA. She/he will provide technical support on dam safety issues with the guidance of Senior Dam Specialists and report to Practice Manager for Water Global Solutions Unit in Water Global Practice.


The Water GP is seeking a highly qualified and motivated individual to serve as a Dam Specialist. The principal duties and responsibilities of the Dam Specialist would include:

  • As a team member, working with Dam Safety global team and task team’s technical resource on dam safety policy issues, in particular helping teams sharpen the policy requirements related to dam safety.
  • Join task teams and provide technical support to prepare and supervise high quality dam related projects. This will particularly involve in preparing supervision reports, technical reports for projects under preparation, supporting task teams in monitoring and evaluation systems, managing database or helping developing data base, other technical reports as deemed needed for clients engagement.
  • Contributing to regular training sessions on dam safety for operational staff and to technical assistance conducted by dam safety team.
  • Contributing to knowledge management / sharing activities related to dam safety and other key tasks on Dam safety and storage agenda.
  • Contributing to dam safety portfolio management by updating dam safety information, operating and maintaining dam safety database of the World Bank.
  • Work closely as a team member of the Global Team on Dam Safety om partnerships, corporate priorities with other units in the Bank, and work with communications team in preparing results stories.
  • Willing to undertake project site visits in short notices.

Selection Criteria


Candidates must demonstrate professional excellence and outstanding oral and written communication skills. They must also demonstrate excellent interpersonal skills, the ability to find practical solutions to problems and to think strategically.  Generic GF-level knowledge, skills and competencies apply. 

The following specific criteria will also apply:

  • An advanced degree (Master or above) in science or engineering related to dam safety management and at least 5 years of hands-on experience in planning, designing, and safety assessment  of dams for multi purposes (irrigation, water supply, hydropower, navigation, and environment etc.).
  • Proven expertise in key disciplines associated with dams, such as hydrology, hydraulics, structural engineering, geotechnical engineering, instrumentation and monitoring, etc.
  • Demonstrated ability to work as a team member for providing innovative solutions to solve complex technical and development issues.
  • Excellent interpersonal, problem-solving, and team skills, and the ability to work across boundaries.
  • Demonstrated ability to function effectively in a multi-cultural environment, sustaining partnerships with clients and colleagues.
  • Willingness and demonstrated ability to regularly conduct site visits, including visits to remote areas.
  • Knowledge of strong computer skills for operating and maintaining database.
  • Excellent writing and presentational skills, and ability to synthesize large amounts of material into crisp briefing memos and Power Point presentations.
  • Strong written and spoken English language communications skills are required; Proficiency of French and Spanish are desirable.


  • Develops innovative solutions.
  • Deliver Results for Clients - Proactively addresses clients’ stated and unstated needs.
  • Collaborate Within Teams and Across Boundaries - Collaborates across boundaries, gives own perspective and willingly receives diverse perspectives.
  • Create, Apply and Share Knowledge - Applies knowledge across WBG to strengthen solutions for internal and/or external clients.
  • Make Smart Decisions - Interprets a wide range of information and pushes to move forward.