Local recruitment: Watermaster (Natural Resource Specialist 4)

Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD)

Klamath Falls, OR, USA 🇺🇸

Job Description:

This position will be open until filled with a weekly application review. Apply today!

Oregon Water Resources Department 

Our Vision 

The vision of the Oregon Water Resources Department is to assure sufficient and sustainable water supplies are available to meet current and future needs. 

Core Values 

  • Integrity – We are accountable for all that we do.  We act with honesty and promote transparency. 
  • Service – We are dedicated to providing outstanding service and treating everyone equitably in our management and stewardship of state resources. 
  • Technical Excellence – We base our resource decisions on law, science, and expertise. 
  • Teamwork – We are united in our mission, relying on one another and working together with the communities we serve. 
  • Forward-Looking – We seek innovative and practical solutions to the water challenges of today and tomorrow. 

2019-2024 Strategic Plan 

The Oregon Water Resources Department’s strategic priorities for 2019-2024 are to: 

  • Modernize our management of Oregon’s surface water and groundwater resources to   meet instream and out-of-stream uses 
  • Work to secure Oregon’s instream and out-of-stream water future in the face of increasing water scarcity 
  • Foster a forward-looking team dedicated to serving Oregonians with integrity and excellence 

Position Information 

This position is a permanent position located in Klamath Falls, with some remote option flexibility. Some in-state travel is required. This position is represented by the Service Employees International Union. 

This applicant pool may be used to fill additional vacancies as they occur over the next three (3) months. 

The Oregon Water Resources Departmentis committed to creating a workplace culture that understands and appreciates differences among people and is welcoming and inclusive to all. By fostering fairness and equity in its work culture, the Department strives to improve services for all Oregonians. We acknowledge that not all people have experienced equitable opportunities or fair treatment. We are committed to increasing our awareness and understanding of historic injustices and building a foundation for meaningful change. We value a wide range of professional and lived experiences, and people of underrepresented communities are strongly encouraged to apply. 

Program Information

The Field Services Division is the operations portion of the agency.  Watermasters enforce water law, administrative rules, and agency policy.  This includes settling of water right disputes; inspection of dams to prevent loss of life and property; inspection of well construction to prevent contamination of groundwater and loss of artesian pressure; collection and measurement of hydrologic data for planning and regulation; and protection of existing instream and out-of-stream water rights.  This affects all of the people in the state, whether they divert water directly or enjoy in-stream values such as fishing, boating, and hiking along streams and lakes.  Watermasters work to restore and protect streamflows to enhance the long-term sustainability of Oregon’s ecosystems.  The overall program is statewide. 

Position Information

This position represents the Department and the Field Services Division as part of the South Central Region in both office and field settings.  The watermaster is regularly involved in issues of significant impact to the surface water and groundwater resources of Oregon, water users, instream benefits and subsequent other water-related public benefits.  Watermasters are regularly involved in controversial or complex agency policy and decision making which may affect broader Department policy.

The Watermaster responds to water right disputes, informational inquiries and complaints in a timely manner, thus preventing potential loss of crops, life, property or aquatic life while actively enforcing Oregon water laws, administrative rules from all divisions of the agency, and Water Resources Commission policies.  Complex water management challenges occur in this basin, including large numbers of water rights, irrigation districts, and ESA issues.  Some watermaster districts have interstate water issues requiring investigations, dispute resolution, and solutions without established procedures.  Water management decisions in this basin are highly controversial, are of high value, and due to large stakeholder groups with significant financial interests, ESA issues, and Tribal water rights and needs, are of a sensitive nature.  Because of required time-critical decision making and responses, and complex water management, regulation and distribution, and hydrologic data collection occurring in this district, this position prioritizes tasks, and helps the region manager understand and direct other region staff. This position will assist with orientation and training of new employees. 

This position will perform work with our core values in mind. The person in this position performs duties in a manner which promotes customer service and harmonious working relationships, including treating all persons courteously and respectfully; engages in effective team participation through a willingness to assist and support co-workers, supervisors, and other work related associations; develops good working relationships with division and agency staff through active participation in accomplishing the agency mission and resolving problems in a constructive manner; demonstrates openness to constructive feedback in an effort to strengthen work performance; and contributes to a positive, respectful, and productive work environment. 

The Field Services Division seeks to promote a workplace culture that understands and appreciate differences among people, utilizes that understanding and appreciation to improve our services, and fosters a work culture that is welcoming and inclusive to all. 

Minimum Qualifications – Natural Resource Specialist 4  

We are most interested in finding the best candidate for the job, and that candidate may not meet every one of our listed preferred qualifications. Lived experience may count towards the preferred qualifications. If you are excited about this position, we encourage you to apply. If you are unsure as to whether you meet the preferred qualifications of this position, please contact us to discuss your application.   

  • Four years of experience in water resource management, at least one of which at a technical or professional level performing activities in natural resources such as researching and analyzing data, conducting investigations, applying pertinent laws and regulations, or coordinating and monitoring project activities (may be aggregated experience from internships or other volunteer work). AND   
  • A Bachelor’s degree in Water Resources, Geology, Engineering, or related field with coursework in quantitative hydrogeology OR three additional years of related (pertinent) experience.  

A Master’s degree in a qualifying field counts for one year of experience and a PhD. in a qualifying field counts for two years of experience. 

Preferred Qualifications 

  • Experience using ArcGIS, SQL, Python, or other similar GIS, database, or programming languages and software is desirable but not required 
  • Ability to communicate well with the public and convey controversial and complex subjects to lay people without volatizing the situation. 
  • Handle multiple tasks at once and be able to prioritize work as certain times of year, and depending on water conditions, will require more time than is available to one individual. 
  • Work well as a team member. 

Note:  In addition to your related work experience and education, we will use both the minimum and desired qualifications above to determine whom to interview. Please make sure all your relevant qualifications are clearly demonstrated in your application materials. Your application materials may be evaluated on spelling, grammar, punctuation, attention to detail, and presentation. 

Working Conditions 

This position requires a valid driver license and an acceptable driving record. Frequent office work. Occasional lifting up to 75 lbs; occasional contact with hostile or angry people; up to several months annually of field work in possible inclement weather, including below freezing conditions; rare overnight outdoor work in isolated rural environments; occasional work around large motors and heavy equipment.  Driving long distances to remote field locations in all types of weather and road conditions. 


The table below shows the monthly salary ranges for each classification level included in this posting.  

NON-PERS ELIGIBLE (Includes most new hires to state government. Employees typically gain PERS eligibility after six months of state service. 

NRS4 $5,396 – $8,292 Monthly 

PERS ELIGIBLE (Typically current or former employees of Oregon state or local government, public schools, universities, etc.) 

NRS4 $5,771 – $8,870 Monthly 

What’s in it for you 

The opportunity to:  

  • Help modernize management of Oregon’s water resources and secure Oregon’s water future in the face of increasing water scarcity and uncertainty. 
  • Find satisfaction in tackling complex water use issues by collecting detailed data, accurately documenting observations, and helping prepare enforcement documents to gain compliance.  
  • Support a sustainable water future for Oregon’s economy, environment, and communities.  
  • Join an organization with smart, driven co-workers who care about public service, water resources, and their co-workers, and who welcome new ideas. 
  • Collect data that will be used to help create policy, improve on laws and statutes and assist in guiding OWRD as it manages this crucial resource for future generations. 

Klamath Falls and it’s surrounding areas 

  • Recreation, hunting, fishing, approximately 2.5 hours from Bend 
  • Natural beauty – Cascade Mountains, Crater Lake National Park, vast landscape to explore 
  • Unique geography and geology 
  • Quiet rural area with a rich Oregon history 
  • A new opportunity in water management in the Basin 
  • Support future sustainability that will preserve and protect the local economy and quality of life in the basin. 

How to Apply: 

  • Provide a brief (no more than 1 page) cover letter indicating why you are interested in, and a good candidate for, the NRS-4, Watermaster position at the Oregon Water Resources Department. 
  • Provide a brief (no more than 2 page) resume indicating your experience pertinent to the required and desired qualifications in this announcement. 

Warning! The system will timeout after 15 minutes of inactivity. 

Important: Please monitor both your email and Workday account for updates regarding this recruitment. You may be asked to submit additional information after initial application. If you have questions about this job posting, please contact Human Resources at WRD_DL_HR@water.oregon.gov 

Current State of Oregon employees must apply through your employee Workday account. 

Work Authorization 

The Oregon Water Resources Department does not offer visa sponsorships. Within three days of hire, all applicants will be required to complete the US Department of Homeland Security Form I-9, confirming authorization to work in the United States. 


If you are an eligible veteran and you meet the qualifications, veterans’ preference points will be added to your score. For more information on veterans’ preference points visit www.oregonjobs.org and select Veterans resources under Resources. Please do not attach veteran documentation to your initial application, after you have applied you will be sent a task in your Workday account to provide your veteran documentation at that time. 

The Oregon Water Resources Department is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action Employer Committed to Workforce Diversity. 





IHE Delft MSc in Water and Sustainable Development