About the Certified Water Manager Program

Become a Certified Water Manager (CWM)

The California Landscape Contractors Association’s Water Management Certification Program was established in 2007 and helps the green industry reduce landscape water usage by certifying individuals through performance-based water budgeting. This unique program carries the WaterSense label from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and is also approved for continuing education units by NALP (formerly PLANET), the Irrigation Association and the International Association of Arboriculture.

Certification consists of:

  • Completion of the irrigation audit introduction, usually completed at one-day workshop.
  • Pass the written test with 70 percent or better (written test typically immediately follows the one-day workshop). Download the study guide for the written test. To print the study guide, set page scaling to “Fit to Printer Margins” when you print the document.
  • Successful completion of the performance program or management of at least one landscape site for a rolling 12 months. This can be achieved retroactively, but verifiable third-party water records may be required to verify.
  • Successful completion of performance site review by CLCA administration. All site past performance data and landscaped area must be reviewed before certification is granted. Performance site review requests to CLCA administration must be submitted in writing to watermanagement@clca.org.

Two levels of certification:

  • Basic Certification: CLCA Water Manager. Pass the written test have completed the water audit training and manage at least one property for one year and continue to manage a property at or below the landscape water budget established by the CLCA Water Management Performance Program. In addition, the water use may not exceed 100 percent of reference evapotranspiration (ETo). However if a local jurisdiction defines other landscape water consumption requirements that are more demanding than 100 percent of ETo, the program will require the local standard. In addition new landscape sites must achieve 80 percent of ETo to qualify.
  • Expert Certification: CLCA Expert Water Manager. Pass the written test, complete the water audit training and manage five properties for one year and continue to manage five properties at or below the water budget established by the CLCA Water Management Performance Program. In addition, the water use may not exceed 80 percent of ETo. However if a local jurisdiction defines on budget or other landscape water consumption requirements that are more demanding than 80 percent of ETo the program will require the local standard.

 

Certification Process

There are no perquisites for certification. Certification is open to anyone.

If you have not completed the Performance Program requirement: Upon completion of passing the written test a property must be enrolled in the Water Management Performance Program within six months.

 

Benefits of Certification

Upon achieving certification, you will receive a certificate a listing on CLCA’s website under Certified Water Managers: Individuals and five truck decals.

Your employer will receive a listing under Certified Water Managers: Companies. (The CLCA program certifies individuals, not companies or employers.)

 

Maintaining Certification once you have become a CLCA Certified Water Manager

See Program Description for individual level requirements.

  • No outside CEUs are required but extra water/irrigation-related education will be offered to Certified Water Managers on a regular basis through CLCA.
  • Meter readings must be current at all times and are reviewed regularly. Site past performance data by CWM is subject to regular review and verifiable third-party water records may be required during a review. Failure to comply may cause you to lose your certification status.
  • Your immediate past 12 months of total water usage must be below 100 percent your calculated water budget as your performance is reviewed quarterly, failure to keep readings current may cause you to lose your certification status.
  • Your immediate past 12 months of total water usage must be below 100 percent of your calculated water budget as your performance is reviewed quarterly. Failure to keep readings current may cause you to lose your certification status. For more information on how a water budget is calculated click here.
  • Your immediate past 12 months of total ETo must be below 100% as your performance is reviewed quarterly. Failure to keep readings current may cause you to lose your certification status.

Once certified, you must continue to pay your annual re-certification performance fees. Failure to meet these requirements may cause you to lose your CLCA Water Management Certification.