AWE Seeks Applicants for a Water Conservation and Efficiency Research Intern

About Alliance for Water Efficiency

The Alliance for Water Efficiency is a non-profit organization dedicated to a sustainable water future through water conservation and efficiency. AWE is a collective of organizations and professionals committed to advancing knowledge and best practices to sustainably achieve sustained water savings.

Project Background

Drought and climate change are driving the need to advance efforts to reduce non-essential water uses, and local water providers are increasingly focusing on outdoor water use that can significantly contribute to local water demand. Utilities have been actively working to design programs that not only reduce outdoor water use but also reduce peak demands, reduce run-off and protect water quality, maintain beneficial landscapes, save customers money, and more. Further, with improved data, utilities can better identify high and excessive users and can direct programs, rebates, resources, and services to those who could generate the most cost-effective savings per household. Improvements in irrigation technology and landscape management practices can support greater water savings, too.

In 2015, AWE launched its Outdoor Water Savings Research Initiative to explore what programs, practices, and irrigation technologies can support effective outdoor water efficiency programs. This effort has led to a variety of research reports, including AWE’s 2019 Landscape Transformation Study that documented water savings between 7 and 39 percent for residential properties participating in water utility-sponsored landscape transformation programs, with savings generally increasing over time. More research, however, is needed about residential-scale outdoor water efficiency strategies and programs.

Position Description

This Intern will contribute to important research within the Outdoor Water Savings Research Initiative in collaboration with AWE’s Program Team. The Intern will conduct primary and secondary research, facilitate informational interviews, collect and organize data, and write reports for an AWE project exploring the best practices across residential landscape transformation and irrigation efficiency programs. This project will account for the significant evolution of utility programs over the past decade and what drivers have motivated these changes.

The Research Intern will have the opportunity to highlight how utilities have collaborated with their communities, universities and educators, and related water- and landscape-focused industries (like retailers, nurseries, gardens, and landscape and irrigation contractors) to save water and address water resource challenges amidst a changing climate. Their work will also investigate how utilities are advancing equitable outcomes through improved processes and programs.

Tasks and Responsibilities

  • Conduct desktop research of utility programs
  • Conduct 1:1 or focus group style interviews to learn more about how and why utilities have taken their approach and how/why their programs have evolved over time
  • Gather additional information/documentation from utilities
  • Assist with convening a roundtable or interviews/surveys with vendors, nurseries, contractors, etc. (others in related landscape and irrigation industries)
  • Data collection and analysis
  • Summarize survey and interview data and compile results into a report

Desired Qualifications and Skills

  • Current student enrolled in or recently graduated from an accredited graduate program.
  • Experience and interest in water, local government, sustainability, or other experiences related to the water efficiency and conservation field.
  • Direct experience working for or with water utilities or local governments is highly desired.
  • Experience conducting research and data analysis.
  • Strong organizational skills and attention to detail.
  • Effective communication skills including strong listening and comprehension skills, effective written and verbal communication skills, and ability to conduct oneself in a positive and professional manner. 
  • Proficiency with professional tools like Microsoft Word and Excel; familiarity with GIS is a plus.
  • Active learner with a spirit of curiosity; holds themselves and their work to high standards and is committed to personal and professional growth.

We believe that candidates with a range of perspectives, experiences, and skillsets strengthen our work. If you are excited about this project but are hesitant because your qualifications do not perfectly align, please still consider applying.  


We are interested in every qualified candidate who is eligible to work in the United States. However, we are not able to sponsor visas.


This position is grant-funded. Applicants can expect to receive $17-20 per hour working 20-40 hours per week. Weekly schedules are flexible and will be determined in collaboration with the intern. 


This position is remote  within the United States, with priority given to applicants from Illinois, California, Colorado, and Ohio. 


3-6 months, with the expected start date in May 2024; start and end dates are flexible. 

How to Apply

Please submit via email ( a resume, cover letter, and a short writing sample in PDF format. The email subject line should be: “LAST NAME – Research Internship Candidate”. Please include contact information for two references. We will only contact references of finalists and will notify the applicant before doing so. Once you have submitted your application, the AWE Program team will review, and select candidates for a virtual interview. 

Please submit your application materials by March 8, 2024.

Expected Recruitment Timeline

  • Application Deadline: March 8
  • Review of Applications: Week of March 11
  • Interview Invitation: Week of March 18
  • Interviews: March 27 & 28
  • Notification of Candidate Selection: April 5


Learn more about the Alliance for Water Efficiency (AWE) here. Headquartered in Chicago, AWE serves as a North American advocate for water-efficient products and programs and provides information and assistance on water conservation efforts.

AWE is proud to be an Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity employer, and we welcome applications from those who contribute to our diversity. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, mental or physical disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, familial status, veteran status, or genetic information. AWE is committed to providing access, equal opportunity, and reasonable accommodation for all individuals in employment practices, services, programs, and activities. The requirements listed in our job descriptions are guidelines, not hard and fast rules. If you have 75% or more of the qualifications listed, we encourage you to apply. Applying gives you the opportunity to be considered. AWE is especially excited about increasing applications from people committed to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion, including people with disabilities, Black, Indigenous, People of Color, and LGBTQ+ persons.