A hydraulic engineer is a specialized civil engineer who works with issues concerning the flow of water and other liquids. They are employed primarily to work on bridges and dams and at hydraulic power plants, and there are also mechanical engineering applications, including heavy machinery, cooling systems, and turbines, which require their expertise. They are also important to environmental management and city-planning needs.
Generally, those in this position are concerned with analyzing and managing the flow of water and understanding its effects. In civil engineering projects for roads, bridges, and dams, the engineer assesses water volumes and flow patterns and works with other engineers to ensure proper design and material tolerances for all contingencies. These processes may combine and overlap with some mechanical engineering projects, especially in regard to hydraulic power generated by dams. Hydraulic engineers also help design and maintain maximum-efficiency turbine systems to convert water flows to electrical power.
Hydraulic engineers who work in an environmental field will typically spend a great deal of time examining the prevailing effects of groundwater, stream flows of rivers, and the like. They may be asked to assess construction risks and requirements in water-heavy areas to assist city administrators and planners, as well. Some hydraulic engineers even work to help design water delivery and sewage disposal systems for communities.
To work as a hydraulic engineer, a person must possess a degree in a relevant field/discipline from a four-year university and any certifications required to work in particular fields. Typically, hydraulic engineers do a great deal of computer work which includes analyzing models and statistics, so these skills are absolutely necessary. They generally work traditional business hours in engineering offices or labs, but also spend time in the field.
Engineer, Hydraulic Tasks
Design, develop, oversee execution, test and confirm performance for hydraulic projects.
Create project plans, document resource needs and evaluate project progress.
Model and refine hydraulic systems and algorithms.
Document specifications and feasibility, including site-specific and integrated components.
Design and test hydraulic systems, their controls and associated products.