Irrigation and Drainage Specialist

The World Bank

Washington, DC, US


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.

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 the 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.

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 Global Practice is poised to deliver on a Water Secure World through an approach that focuses on Sustaining Water Resources, Delivering Services, and Building Resilience. The WTR GP also has strong external partnerships and houses the Global Water Security and Sanitation Program (GWSP), the 2030 Water Resources Group and several regional transboundary programs.  The GP has a strong leadership structure, with a Global Director, 10 Practice Managers, 2 Global Program Managers and Global Leads for Water and the Economy, WSS Service Delivery, Water in Agriculture, Building Resilience and Water Resources Management.  The LT also works closely with other GPs and the SD Regional Directors.  Increasingly, while staff may specialize in one sub-sector, they are encouraged and supported to address the full water agenda in terms of analytical, policy and operational work. The GP, through its fully integrated GWSP Trust Fund, places the highest priority on global knowledge into local implementation, as well as in deploying staff to both regions and globally.


Within the Europe and Central Asia Region, the World Bank is managing a large, diverse and shifting irrigation and drainage portfolio. After many years of transition of the rural economies in the post-communist era, countries are facing new challenges in the viability and demographic changes in agriculture, experiencing new climate shocks and variability; and facing an ageing, poor and emptying rural space. Water in agriculture projects have focused on rehabilitating large- and small-scale schemes, reform of public sector institutions, improving water use efficiency and currently the portfolio is shifting from maintenance of infrastructure assets to improving them and sustaining water in agriculture beyond short term efficiency and productivity gains. This requires irrigation projects that focus on the interplay of infrastructure modernization; institutional reform/service delivery; and improving information management in changing contexts. Increasingly this means a more holistic approach to water and agriculture, to resilience, to water balances, and to a more precisely defined service delivery with accountability. This also increasingly asks for farmer-led irrigation development (non-traditional methods), water stewardship (in light of global, EU and national demands for sustainable resources management).

The SCAWA unit manages a diverse range of investment projects and analytical work and supports joint programs with the Agriculture GP and the Water GP. In a number of countries, there is dialogue on new operations and the need to strengthen teams in ongoing programs.

Working under the overall supervision of the Water Global Practice’s Unit (SCAWA) manager and in collaboration with Task Team Leaders (TTLs), the successful candidate will support Water in Agriculture (mainly irrigation and drainage, but also integrated watershed management, integrated flood, and WRM) projects, which includes:  

  • Contributing to the identification, preparation, appraisal, and negotiations of water in agriculture-related lending operations including oversight of technical feasibility and pre-feasibility studies.
  • Contributing to the design of specific project components, defining project implementation arrangements, and providing inputs to project documentation and processing.
  • Conducting specific technical tasks, as designated subject specialist in the field of irrigation and drainage and water resources management; and providing technical support to the task teams as needed.
  • Contribute to implementation and supervision of water in agriculture-related lending sector studies including review of contracts and bidding documents.
  • Participation in project supervision, including day-to-day monitoring and follow-up, field supervision, review of technical /procurement documents and work programs, assessing progress with meeting key project outcomes and indicators, and contributing to supervision documentation.
  • Provision of 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.
  • Participation in and supporting Technical Assistance activities for client countries and their organizations in the areas of irrigation and water resources management
  • Participating in and supporting policy dialogue and advisory services and analytical and other knowledge activities in the water in agriculture sector, within the region and globally (through the Water in Agriculture Global Solutions Group).

Selection Criteria

  • At least a master’s degree or engineering degree in a discipline relevant to Water in Agriculture/Irrigation and Drainage (or in Water Resources Management with demonstrable affinity with the WiA sector)
  • A minimum of 5 years of relevant professional and operational experience
  • Substantive international experience working on agricultural water development. Work experience and good knowledge of South/Eastern Europe and Central Asia are preferable.
  • A track record of working on irrigation and drainage projects, with specific experiences working with schemes of varying sizes and with a range of partners and contractual arrangements
  • Proven ability to work flexibly on assignments and adjust to and prioritize a variety of complex and evolving tasks; proactively seeking guidance on complex tasks or issues from senior specialists and staff
  • Strong interpersonal and team skills; ability to think strategically and to develop effective relations with clients, beneficiaries, and within the World Bank.
  • Excellent organizational, research, written, and oral presentation skills, preferably demonstrated in a track record of peer-reviewed publications and delivery of presentations in relevant international forums.
  • Proven ability to work in a team and intercultural environment with minimal supervision.
  • Hands-on and action-oriented and proactive approach.
  • Computer skills should be adequate for the analytical and report writing demands of this position
  • Fluency in English. Knowledge of one or more of South/Eastern European and Central Asia languages is an advantage
  • Enthusiasm for and commitment to development work; willing to travel and work in remote areas in the field.


  • Lead and Innovate – 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.





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