Water Specialist

The World Bank

Washington, D.C., USA 🇺🇸

Job #:req19280
Organization:World Bank
Term Duration: 4 years 0 months
Recruitment Type:International Recruitment
Location:Washington, DC,United States
Required Language(s):English, French
Preferred Language(s):
Closing Date:10/18/2022 (MM/DD/YYYY) at 11:59pm UTC


Do you want to build a career that is truly worthwhile? The World Bank Group is one of the largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries; a unique global partnership of five institutions dedicated to ending extreme poverty and promoting shared prosperity. With 189 member countries and more than 120 offices worldwide, we work with public and private sector partners, investing in groundbreaking projects and using data, research, and technology to develop solutions to the most urgent global challenges. For more information, visit www.worldbank.org

Water Global Practice and the Sustainable Development Practice Group

The water challenges of the world are tremendous. Globally, the World Bank Group finances water development through projects, policy lending and technical assistance in the fields of sustaining water resources, delivering services (both in water in agriculture as in water supply and sanitation) and building resilience, the Water Global Practice (GP) also seeks to ensure that water issues are effectively addressed across all related sub-sectors, such as agriculture (ensuring sustainable water availability for irrigation), climate change and disaster risk management, and energy (hydropower). In each sub-sector, an integrated approach is adopted which considers investment alongside issues such as governance, institutions, and policies. WIA (Water in Agriculture) projects focus on all aspects of agricultural water management, from governance in service delivery, to modernization of irrigation, farmer led irrigation, water accounting and resilience through improved agricultural water practices. The Water Supply and Sanitation (WSS) projects include rural and urban water and sanitation services, hygiene behavior, improving the efficiency of utilities, and provision of services to the poor. The Water Resources Management (WRM) projects include integrated water resource management, including groundwater management, dam safety, and flood management. Each team member is connected globally to these broad themes through the Global Solutions Groups (GSGs).

The Water GP is housed within the Sustainable Development Practice Group, which brings together the cross-cutting sectors of Water with Agriculture, Environment, Social Inclusion, and Urban and Disaster Risk Management.

Western and Central Africa (AFW) Region

The World Bank Western and Central Africa Region, comprised of approximately 1,139 staff mostly based in about 22 country offices, is committed to help countries to realize their considerable development potential and become more competitive in the global economy by focusing on the following priorities (i) Creating Jobs and Transforming Economies, (ii) Building up the Digital Economy, (iii) Institutions more Efficient and Accountable (iv) Investing in People, (v) Supporting Climate Change Mitigation and Adaption, (vi) Addressing the Drivers of Fragility, Conflict and Violence (vii) Building Partnerships and Working across the African Continent. The water team within the West and Central Africa Region is led by the Water Practice Manager who reports to the AFR-West SD Regional Director, who leads the strategy of RISE:  resilience, integration, sustainability and efficiency.

Western and Central Africa (W AFR) Region: https://www.worldbank.org/en/region/afr/western-and-central-africa

Water Team of the West and Central Africa Region

Within the West and Central Africa Region, the hiring unit (SAWW1) is responsible for ensuring the translation of the World Bank’s Africa Regional Strategy and the Water Global Practice’s Water Security Strategy into practical results relevant to 22 countries, from Mauritania to Gabon. Specifically, the unit supports the definition and achievement of these results through analytical, policy, and investment activities. The unit has a staffing complement of around 35 water professionals, with an active portfolio of over $3.3 Billion,19 investment projects, 2 Programs for Results, Advisory Services and Analytics and contribution to Development Policy Financing.

The hiring unit has an active portfolio of investments and lending projects in sub-region under implementation, focusing on water supply, sanitation, irrigation, and water resources management. In all cases, these require intensive engagement with government counterparts, and other stakeholders to ensure local ownership, capacity and sustained focus on implementation for results.

The successful candidate will report to the SAWW1 Water Practice Manager.

Role & Responsibilities:

The role of the Water Specialist will be to provide analytical and technical inputs for teams working on a range of projects and analytics seeking to promote water security and sustainable development, through more resilient, inclusive, efficient, and sustainable development and management of irrigation and drainage infrastructure and technologies, water resources, and climate resilience/adaptation. The work program will cover West and Central Africa countries, including in the framework of regional projects.

The Water Specialist’s main areas of focus will be Water in Agriculture/Irrigation and/or Water Resources Management. The work encompasses both technical work (planning, evaluation, advice) and policy / institutional dialogue on the enabling environment for sustainable water resources management. The candidate will be expected to work independently on complex projects / issues with guidance from senior colleagues, including Task Team Leaders (TTLs). Duties include:

  • Participate in the identification, preparation, appraisal, and negotiations of projects in the above-mentioned areas, including oversight of technical feasibility and prefeasibility studies; As part of project preparation, contribute to the design of specific project components, defining project implementation arrangements, and providing inputs to project documentation and processing;
  • Support policy and advocacy work in the field of water in agriculture/irrigation and/or water resources management, and together with colleagues in the SD team articulate these as part of broader sustainable development policy dialogue (and financing). Advise clients on strategies, best practices and design of programs, both in long-term advisory as well as ad hoc sharing of expertise; Support in-country execution of global diagnostics on irrigation service delivery and/or water security. Provide guidance on broader water resources management issues. Translate broad policy objectives into concrete development proposals;
  • Conduct specific technical tasks, as designated subject specialist in the field of agricultural water management and/or water resources management; and providing technical support to the task teams and clients as needed, including cross-support to other units if needed. Liaise with colleagues working in other sectors (including agriculture, urban, environment and energy) on the cross-roads of water resources management and how to support synergies;
  • Participate in project supervision, including day-to-day monitoring and follow-up, field supervision, review of technical /procurement documents and work programs, assessing progress and key project outcomes and indicators through dashboards, and contributing to supervision documentation;
  • Provide support to the definition, contracting, and supervision of the work of external consultants and technical specialists while ensuring consistency with bank guidelines and best practices;
  • Participate in a close sector dialogue with government officials at the policy level (possibly from several ministries), other development partners, research institutions, regional Institutions, non-Government organizations, the private sector and other sector-related institutions in in sub-region;
  • Participate in and support policy dialogue and advisory services and analytical and other knowledge activities in the water GP, within the region and globally;
  • Work as part of multiple teams (regional water, regional SD, country team, global) and over time.

Selection Criteria

  • At least a master’s degree in one of the following areas:
    • agricultural water management (irrigation-related engineering; irrigation management; hydrology), or
    •  water resources management/engineering.
  • Recognized technical, operational, and/or policy-oriented expertise, and at least 5 years of relevant work experience. This experience may include work in governments, private companies, consulting firms, academia, and/or multilateral institutions;
  • Extensive experience with irrigation and drainage infrastructure and/or water resources management with relevance to IWRM and technologies and the ability to apply knowledge to policy related decisions and advice;
  • Good understanding of approaches to the various models for partnering with the private sector;
  • Demonstrated experience in water resources management and/or irrigation and drainage projects implementation;
  • Hydrological analysis and hydrological modeling experience would be a plus;
  • Ability to think innovatively and to translate technical and cross-country knowledge into practical applications and contributions to country and sector strategies while maintaining a strong client focus;
  • Prior work experience and results on the ground and hands-on experience with Government counterpart agencies;
  • Experience in coordinating and/or managing multi-disciplinary projects; 
  • Strong verbal, analytical and written communication skills in French and English, and a demonstrated ability to produce high-quality documents and analytical reports; as well as excellent presentation skills using presentation techniques appropriately to communicate complex concepts to non-specialists;
  • Strong drive for results, taking personal ownership and accountability to meet deadlines and achieve agreed-upon results;
  • Knowledge of cross-cutting issues related to the water sector: climate change, environmental and social issues, inclusion, and poverty reduction; 
  • Willingness and ability to travel in the field.

World Bank Group Core Competencies

The World Bank Group offers comprehensive benefits, including a retirement plan; medical, life and disability insurance; and paid leave, including parental leave, as well as reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities.

We are proud to be an equal opportunity and inclusive employer with a dedicated and committed workforce, and do not discriminate based on gender, gender identity, religion, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or disability.

Learn more about working at the World Bank and IFC, including our values and inspiring stories.