Principal Water Engineer

Canal & River Trust
Remote working from home – must be able to travel across England & Wales
£51,000 - £55,000 dependant on experience inclusive of car cash allowance
Closing date
5 Nov 2021

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We currently have a vacancy for a Principal Water Engineer in the Trusts national Water Management team. The job holder will apply a wide range of engineering expertise, judgement and substantial knowledge to help ensure we deliver effective water engineering across our network of canals and  navigable rivers, to meet navigational and other demands for water, whilst complying with relevant legal, environmental and operational constraints.

The role will lead the work of a small team of water engineers, co-ordinating and undertaking asset inspection responsibilities, particularly for assets that have a water control or water conveyance function, and will identify innovative engineering solutions to a full range of challenges, initiate works for delivery teams and offer support to the construction phase. They will act as the primary contact for the majority of operational water control issues, including flood risk management concerns and will lead the liaison with the rest of the Water Management team to ensure proportionate, timely and appropriate responses are made to internal and external customers, seeking opportunities for continual improvement and efficiency.

Location:  This is a national role and will be based working at home.  Regular national travel to on-site locations and to Trust hub offices for team and collaborative meetings will be required.  A Car Cash allowance is provided.

We're the charity who look after and bring to life 2,000 miles of waterways across England and Wales, because we believe that life is better by water. Every role across the Trust plays its part in transforming our canals and rivers into spaces where local people want to spend time and feel better, bringing wellbeing benefits to millions

Knowledge, Skills/Qualifications & Experience

About the role:

Water is the lifeblood of the inland waterway network that we care for. Without effective management of water, the Trust cannot deliver it’s charitable objectives. Our Water Engineers, part of the national Water Management team with the Operations Directorate play a crucial role. On a day to day basis, you could be supporting asset engineers and project managers to understand impacts of droughts on our canals and come up with mitigation solutions to offset reductions in water supply, through to working with reservoir engineers and hydraulic modellers to assess major infrastructure projects and their impacts on flood risk management. You might be working with consultants and other technical specialists to prioritise works on pumping stations, weirs and sluices, or negotiating with regulators such as the Environment Agency and stakeholders such as local authorities to ensure the Trusts water management roles are properly accounted for and protected in external projects and schemes affecting our infrastructure. You’ll be updating guidance to ensure operational colleagues have accurate and relevant information to control water safely and effectively in droughts and floods, and advising senior management to decide on how to tackle future pressures on our network such as ageing infrastructure and climate change.

Key Accountabilities:

  • Independently identify opportunities to provide and improve specialist advice on water engineering issues, to Regional and central teams, particularly Regional Engineering and Asset Strategy teams (including a lead role on Asset Group as representative of Water Management team). Identify the need for, initiate and then co-ordinate practical support to colleagues to ensure that water engineering requirements and concerns are accounted for and properly resolved in any planned engineering works or other projects. Provide practical water engineering support to significant complexity/contentious restoration and new canal projects.
  • Carry out Principal Inspections of relevant assets following agreed procedure(s), liaising with engineering colleagues in other teams to ensure inspection programme delivered to time and quality requirements, managing all the Water Engineering team programme of inspections, identifying a range of efficiencies and improvements.
  • Identify and promote complex Priority Projects and Priority Works to water assets following a risk-based approach, resolving challenges and barriers through negotiation as/where applicable.
  • Develop an excellent appreciation of inspection requirements, fully understand diversity of individual assets and identify/drive process improvements. Provide authoritative input to Trust Asset Strategy team for the long-term management and improvement of specific asset types. Identify synergies and linkages with other related projects. Peer review inspections carried out by other water and regional engineers.
  • Provide formal Water Management team written response to statutory consultee matters for full range of planning applications and Flood Risk Assessment queries relating to the Trusts waterways, against defined issues (flood risk management, water resources) as well as in unusual/unique situations, rarely escalating highly complex and/or contentious matters.
  • Responsible for the line management and leadership/motivation of small, dispersed national team of Water Engineers, effectively delivering all required Performance Excellence activities and contributing to/initiating wider people management activities across team.
  • Mentor for professional development schemes, and support reviewing/updating of relevant scheme documentation, developing a culture of continuous improvement and technical excellence.

Knowledge, Experience & Skills


  • Masters Degree (e.g. MEng) or equivalent in relevant subject e.g. Engineering, Hydraulics
  • Chartered Member (or Fellow) of a professional body e.g. ICE or equivalent
  • Demonstrate comprehensive experience in field of engineering relating to relevant assets/infrastructure.
  • Substantial experience of inspecting infrastructure assets and recommending improvements/works.
  • Computer literate in MS Office and competence in/application of asset management systems.
  • Proven post chartered delivery on complex water engineering issues and relevant project responsibility.
  • Proven line management skills and experience, including performance management processes.
  • Excellent level of written communication skills and numerical ability.
  • Excellent presentation skills, demonstrate proven and considerable examples of effectively conveying complex information to technical & non-technical audiences, and evidence of being able to appropriately influence/persuade others to your viewpoint.
  • Ability to negotiate and manage own and others time effectively, prioritising tasks without supervision.
  • Valid driving licence - given national nature of role covering entire Trust waterway network in England & Wales.


  • Professional body involvement e.g. mentoring, branch/section committee, technical panel, special interest group.
  • Detailed knowledge and application of complex civil and hydraulic engineering processes.
  • Understanding and appropriate application of the Trusts governance, systems of compliance, relevant/applicable standards and processes.
  • Financial and budgetary management experience.
  • Substantial experience of delivering relevant Trust or comparable customer service standards and expectations.

To apply:  click on the "Apply" button and follow the process - complete the application form & upload current CV.

Interviews: Initial interviews will be conducted virtually.

If you have any questions about this role before applying, please do not hesitate to contact

What We Offer

Advertised Salary: £51,000 - £55,000 dependant on experience inclusive of car cash allowance

In addition to your total salary package above, we also offer a generous holiday entitlement increasing with years of service, a competitive contributory DC Pension scheme and other benefits.  To find out more about our benefits click here.

We are striving to represent the diverse communities that we are a part of. All applicants will be treated on the basis of their merits, skills and abilities and solely by being assessed against the requirements for the job. Many of our vacancies can be considered for people who wish to work flexibly, job share or part time. 

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