Explore: Environment

Environment Agency

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Owain S

0.00.00 My name’s Owain S. I’m a hydrologist and I work for the Environment Agency. My duties are to analyse, assess, forecast, and report on the water environment. The work that I do feeds in and underpins a lot of the work the Environment Agency does. A lot of the analysis that I’ll undertake will be of rainfall data and river flow data, looking at the flood risk side of things to protecting environment in low flows. All the work that we do does have an element of leading to some good environmental outcomes.

0.00.34 I really enjoyed school. You know, I think when I was in school I didn’t really know what I wanted to do as a career, and I generally chose subjects in terms of GCSE’s and A levels, that I felt I was strongest in, and those that I enjoyed the most. I undertook 3 A levels in physics, geography, and chemistry. On the back of those then, I decided to undertake a degree in geography which a lot of people say is a degree for people that don’t know what they want to do.

0.01.00 And then I was hoping then, that on the back of that I’d be able to decide where I wanted to go. I think at university, I think that was, I think the degree is ultimately the reason that you’re there but I think that is, I saw it as a by-product of the whole experience of going to university. I think you grow up a lot when you go to university when you move away from home, experiencing meeting new people, and I found that it set me in good stead for development of my career.

0.01.30 My parents have played a strong role in my development as a person, and I think they’ve always given me quite a free reign in terms of what I wanted to do with my life, from university through to my career, but they’ve always been very supportive and I think I’ve always looked up to my parents in that respect with the roles, the work, that they do, and obviously wanted to emulate them with their success.

0.02.00 On the back of graduating, I was looking at some companies and obviously the Environment Agency is one of the biggest employers of hydrologists in the UK. I sent off a few letters to the Environment Agency. Started off as a temporary water resources assistant. Fortunately as I was in the company then I was able to apply for internal jobs and there was one that came up in the hydrology team, and I’ve been in that team now for six years. As a hydrologist, yes, there is an element of training that needs to be undertaken. The Environment Agency is very good at providing that training.

0.02.30 Some of that training is internal, other times there are external companies that will come in to train us on those aspects that we work on. In terms of the most important things to me in my life, I think my friends and family are ultimately the most important things to me. I’m very close to my family and have a close group of friends as well. Outside of work I’m really interested in all sports really, in participating, in playing rugby and football, to also watching all sports. I like to keep fit, and train just to keep myself healthy.

0.03.00 I mean in terms of career progression, I certainly see myself continuing in the hydrology field. Whilst I’m still keen to learn and to develop in that field, I also maybe would like to possibly go down a managerial route later in life, so if I’m looking at the next five years or so, I think maybe that will be the route that I’ll be wanting to take but the fact that I still really enjoy my role as a hydrologist, and having routes in to the technical work

0.03.30 that I undertake which I really enjoy and I feel that’s where my strengths are, I wouldn’t want to necessarily let that go. I’m certainly not going to stop and sit and enjoy that. I’m going to continue to try and further my development and enhance my knowledge to ultimately become a better hydrologist and a better person.


Owain S is a Hydrologist with the Environment Agency – he monitors the quality of the water in our environment. He did a Geography degree and Science A levels. He started work with the Environment Agency as a temp and from there was able to apply for internal jobs.

More information about Environment professionals

average salary

The UK average salary is £29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

52%  male 
48%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Future employment?

? Jobholders in this unit group investigate, address, and advise on a variety of terrestrial and marine environment and resource management issues, including the development and implementation of environmental policies and remedies that address the impacts of human activities and industrial processes on the environment.
A good degree in a relevant subject is normally a minimum entry qualification, and some employers will require a postgraduate qualification. Relevant work experience to complement academic qualifications is highly desirable. Professional qualifications across a wide range of areas of work are available.
  • Identifies contamination of land, air or water and assesses any adverse impact on the environment;
  • Advises on and provides solutions for mitigating the effects of such contamination;
  • Implements remediation works;
  • Carries out environment-related desk-based research and fieldwork to collect, analyse and interpret data to determine their validity, quality and significance;
  • Carries out environmental audits and environmental impact assessments;
  • Communicates scientific and technical information to relevant audiences in an appropriate form, via reports, workshops, educational events, public hearings;
  • Assists organisations to conduct their activities in an environmentally appropriate manner;
  • Implements, reviews and advises on regulatory and legislative standards, guidelines and policies;
  • Provides professional guidance to clients, government agencies, regulators and other relevant bodies, having regard for sustainable approaches and solutions.
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