Local recruitment: Assistant Watermaster (Natural Resource Specialist 2)

Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD)

Klamath Falls, OR, USA 🇺🇸

Initial Posting Date: 02/20/2024

Application Deadline: 03/19/2024

Agency: Water Resources Department

Salary Range: $4,338 – $6,635

Position Type: Employee

Position Title: Assistant Watermaster (Natural Resource Specialist 2)

Job Description:

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

The Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD) seeks to hire two (2) Assistant Watermasters (Natural Resource Specialist 2 with an underfill option as a Natural Resource Specialist 1).

These are permanent full-time positions located in Klamath Falls, working in the Field Services Division. The positions are represented by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

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

The Oregon Water Resources Department is 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.

Job Description:


The Field Services Division is the operations portion of the agency. Assistant 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 people in the state, whether they divert water directly or enjoy in-stream values such as fishing, boating, and hiking along streams and lakes.  Assistant Watermasters work to restore and protect streamflows to enhance the long-term sustainability of Oregon’s ecosystems. The overall program is statewide.


This position represents the agency in a field location. From the field location, the Assistant Watermaster responds to water right disputes, informational inquiries and complaints in a timely manner thus preventing potential loss of crops, life, or property.

What you will do:

Assist the Watermaster in responding to water distribution needs and enforcing water law. Respond to distribution complaints by researching water rights, determining proper distribution, and implementing required regulation, under the general guidance and supervision of the Watermaster or Region Manager. Maintain a strong working knowledge of water law, court decrees, water right records, property legal descriptions, administrative rules, agency policy and physical aspects of water rights. Prepare reports and evidence for Watermaster, Region Manager and Enforcement Section when formal enforcement procedures are needed. Work with water users and require installation of measuring devices on significant diversions consistent with Department Goals.

Assist the Watermaster in responding to groundwater complaints by compiling information relative to the complaint, researching well information, and working with the Department’s Hydrogeologists. As an Assistant Watermaster you will work with your regional team to assess water use on registered and unregistered cannabis cultivation sites. Collaborate with law enforcement and enforcement staff from other agencies to address illegal water use.  Review application materials for Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission (OLCC) and Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) registered cannabis production sites as it pertains to water usage. Prepare reports and evidence for Watermaster and Region Manager when formal enforcement procedures are needed.

Collect and compile hydrologic data. For surface water, make streamflow measurements of canals and streams and at gaging stations in compliance with measurement program standards; service, maintain, and repair gaging stations. Assist the regional Hydrographic Technician in process in streamflow records. Requires knowledge of hydrographic techniques in all phases of streamflow record production. For groundwater, measure water levels in wells, determine well location and ownership, tie well logs to the proper tax lot. Prepare data and findings reports. Work with the Department’s hydrogeologists to assist with ground water studies, including initial assessment of data collection wells and collection of groundwater level data. Assist and provide guidance to water users on the proper installation of measuring devices.

Assist the public in researching water right records, well records, and hydrographic records. Prepare and maintain summaries of hydrographic records on a computer database for distribution to the public.

Inspect wells for proper construction methods and perform safety inspections of dams.

Perform other duties as assigned by the Region Manager. Conduct projects such as, but not limited to: research, preparation of staff reports on issues to be presented to the Department or the Water Resources Commission, and assist other sections or divisions of the Department as assigned.

Minimum Qualifications – Natural Resource Specialist 2

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.

  • Two years of experience related to water resource management, and a Bachelor’s degree in Hydrology, Geology, Civil Engineering, or other natural resource area, or three additional years of pertinent experience;


  • One year of related experience and a Master’s degree.  

Minimum Qualifications – Natural Resource Specialist 1 (Underfill Option)

  • Bachelor’s degree in Hydrology, Geology, Civil Engineering, or other natural resource area, or three years of pertinent experience.

Note: Pertinent experience must include activities such as:

  • Gathering and analyzing natural resource data and/or coordinating monitoring efforts for a natural resource program; and
  • Providing technical assistance to the public in a natural resource program explaining laws, rules, and regulations, answering questions, help the public navigate and comply with agency procedures.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Technology – Experience using ArcGIS, SQL, Python, or other similar GIS, database, or programming languages and software is desirable but not required. Familiarity with field data collection, mobile GPS and tablets.
  • Communication – Ability to de-escalate situations and communicate controversial and complex subjects with community partners and the public.
  • Excellent organization skills – You can keep track of project progress, timelines, deadlines, and deliverables, while also coordinating with project partners.
  • Team Work – Watermasters work in a high paced field environment coordinating work with other field staff under the guidance of the Region Manager.
  • Conflict resolution – Watermasters review and interpret statute and rule when working on complex water challenges to ensure decisions are consistent with department guidelines and best practices. 
  • Statute and rules – Demonstrated ability to read, interpret, and use statutes, rules, and policies related to natural resources management.
  • Equity and environmental justice – You are informed and engaged with issues of equity and environmental justice and seek to continue to learn and grow in these areas. 

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 potentially inclement weather. May be exposed to isolated rural environments, large motors, and heavy equipment. This position may travel to other offices or agencies as part of their regular duties.

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 its surrounding areas:

  • Recreation, hunting, fishing – 2.5 hours from Bend & 1.5 hours to Medford.
  • Natural beauty – Cascade Mountains, Crater Lake National Park, vast landscape to explore. 
  • Unique geography and geology.
  • Quiet rural area with a rich Oregon history.
  • Support future sustainability that will preserve and protect the local economy and quality of life in the basin. 


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.

NRS2                                   $4,338 – $6,635 Monthly

NRS1 Underfill               $3,776 –  $5,747 Monthly

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

NRS2                                   $4,639 – $7,097 Monthly

NRS1 Underfill                $4,036 –  $6,146 Monthly

Other Benefits – We offer a competitive benefits package that includes:

  • Exceptional medical, vision and dental plans with employees paying 1-5% of the total rate.
  • Leave accrual starting at 8 hours of sick and 8 hours of vacation leave per month, with your vacation leave accruals increasing every 5 years.
  • Access to an additional four days of discretionary leave – 3 days of personal business leave and one day of Special Leave to use at your discretion each year.
  • Eleven paid holidays per year.
  • Membership in the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS), including a pension and employer contributions to the Individual Account Program.
  • Optional benefits (such as term life insurance, long-term and short-term disability, long-term care, health and dependent care flexible spending accounts, enrollment in the Oregon Savings Growth Plan, a deferred compensation program with a wide variety of investment options).
  • The opportunity to receive loan forgiveness under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (must qualify).

How to Apply:

1.) Provide a brief cover letter indicating why you are interested in, and are a good candidate for, the NRS-2, Watermaster position at the Oregon Water Resources Department.

2.) Provide a brief resume indicating your experience pertinent to the required and desired qualifications in this announcement.

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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.





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