Looking For a Green Job? Grab Your Rain Boots

green_jobs_waterIt’s been 200 days since President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and the Environmental Protection Agency says it has allocated 92 percent of the $7.22 billion Recovery Act dollars it is charge of allocating. And much of that money will be used for projects to improve water quality, wastewater infrastructure and drinking water infrastructure.

Specifically, $4 billion is going for assistance to help communities with water quality and wastewater infrastructure needs and $2 billion for drinking water infrastructure needs. A portion of the funding will be targeted toward green infrastructure, water and energy efficiency, and environmentally innovative projects.

On Thursday, EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson ticked off a short lift of water-related projects that promise to create jobs, including a harbor cleanup in New Bedford, Mass. (270 jobs) and a Superfund cleanup project (more than 200 jobs) in at the Iron Mountain Mine in Redding, Calif., which used to discharge one ton of toxic materials into the Sacramento River every day. Once completed, the local hydroelectric power plant will use the restored waters to produce energy.

President Obama is requesting $475 million in next year’s budget for cleaning up the Great Lakes—and this would be just a small part of the funding if he makes good on his campaign promise of devoting $5 billion for Great Lakes restoration.

So while green jobs are most often associated with installing solar panels and wind turbines, there is also growing demand for people who can set up water reclamation systems for buildings or develop water conservation systems, for example.

Careers related to water quality, conservation and pollution mitigation also tend to require highly specialized training and schooling. Projects such as installing solar panels might require more hands on deck, with spikes of high demand for labor help, than longer-range projects aimed at water infrastructure improvements, but it would still be nice to see water-related green jobs training programs being offered.  Perhaps they’re out there, but just not well publicized?

If you know of any green jobs training and educational programs that are focused on water science and conservation, let us know. Where are they? Who is receiving the training? And when do they start work?

Freelance writer Mary Catherine O'Connor finds that a growing number of companies are proving the ways that they can make good financially, socially and environmentally (as the triple bottom line theory suggests).With that in mind, she contributes to Triple Pundit, as well as to Earth2Tech and other pubs focused on sustainability. She also writes The Good Route, an Outside Magazine blog that addresses the intersection of sustainability and the active/outdoor life.To find out more, or to reach her, go to www.mcoconnor.com.

3 responses

  1. 1. They are building mega solar plant near SF. 2. Forget about water quality in bay area, you need to buy a whole house filter and water softner and another filter for drinking water and i live in Florida. This filter bussiness is more the hundred of jobs you are talking about.

  2. Water for drinking and for farming is an unacknowledged world crisis. It is encouraging that we are making this investment in our future. Conservation and a new mindset, however, is the most critical element in meeting the human need for clean water.

  3. Margaret,
    You are so right. Actually the water crisis is more serious than everything else including the energy crisis and climate change. We can develop alternative energy but we can’t develop alternate water.
    For an excellent primer on the water crisis read Robert Glennon’s Unquenchable. It is an eye opener.

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