Water Resources

  • As a water resources engineer, you will make sure people have access to clean water.
  • You will work to prevent floods, supply water for cities, treat sewage, protect beaches, or manage and redirect rivers.
  • You may be involved in the design, construction, or maintenance of facilities that use water to generate power, canals, dams, pipelines, or pumping stations.

Brent Alcott
Water Resources Coordinator,
City of Chaska

Meet a Water Resources Engineer

What do you want people to know about working for a local agency?

There are many benefits for working for a local agency.  First of all, working with a close group of people allows for relationships that make coming to work enjoyable, much like working with your friends.  The second benefit is more related to the specific work that I do.  The smaller geographical area that I work in, compared to others in my field, gives me the ability to become much more aware of how the overall drainage systems functions.  I am able to know where the problem areas are and can better focus stormwater management and water quality improvement project efforts for the maximum resource benefit.  Lastly, with the City of Chaska I am able to be involved with the review of development and redevelopment projects from the beginning of the planning phase or process.  This allows me to help guide the project in a direction that provides the best long-term resource protection.

What attracted you to work for your current employer? 

I was drawn to the City of Chaska because it allowed the opportunity to work on a wide variety of issues and challenges.  This opportunity keeps the job interesting as there is no “typical” day.  I am able to be involved in everything from large (and small) development projects, working with individual homeowners drainage improvement projects, as well as countless other water quality improvement projects.  I enjoy the challenge of working to solve complex drainage issues, and helping to encourage responsible development that protects and improves water resources.  Further, I find it very rewarding to see projects that I have been involved with be implementing, knowing that my work is helping to preserve and enhance water quality.

Briefly describe your career path?

I graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2012 with a degree in Biology and Chemistry.  My career goal was initially was to pursue a position as a research biologist to investigate how anthropogenic development impacts water resources.  I held a couple of seasonal research technician positions after graduation before accepting a position with as the Assistant Administrator of a watershed district in northern Minnesota in 2014.  In that position, I was responsible for both the water quality monitoring , various research and water quality improvement projects,  as well as overseeing the District’s stormwater management program.  It was during this time that I become more passionate about the stormwater management aspect of development (and redevelopment) projects and began to realize how important responsible development is to protecting water resources.

In 2019, I accepted my current position as the Water Resources Coordinator with the City of Chaska, my current position.  In this role I am responsible for assisting with implementation of the City’s stormwater management program.  This includes review of proposed development projects, implementing various water quality improvement projects, assisting residents with drainage concerns, and overseeing the City’s Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit.

When you reflect on your younger self, can you identify any hobbies, interests, or characteristics that led you to your current position/career?

As child that grew up along the banks of the Elk River, I spent the majority of my time exploring outdoors.  At a young age, I became interested in how land use effects water quality as I witnessed the water that I lived by become gradually impaired with excess sediment, bacteria, and nutrients.  During summer trips to less developed lakes and rivers, I noticed how different and clean the water was in these less areas.   This undoubtedly helped shaped my interest to learn how we can minimize our impacts by living responsibly and protecting our natural resources.

Read more career case studies here.