In 2007 the California Landscape Contractors Association (CLCA) initiated its latest Water Management Certification Program. More than 3,000 people have gone through the program as it approaches its10th anniversary. The state’s water woes, exacerbated by a severe five-year drought climaxing in 2015, reignited interest in the certification program among contractors, reports program manager David Silva.

The CLCA wants certification to mean more than a logo on the side of a truck, so it does not hand out certifications to everyone who shows interest in the water management program. Requirements to gain certification are demanding.

“Since this is a performance-based program the number has varied from year to year. Currently we have about 140 Basic Certified individuals and 24 Expert Certified individuals,” says Silva.

To gain a basic certification, an individual must complete three requirements:

  1. Attend the certification workshop and complete the irrigation audit introduction.
  2. Following the workshop, pass the program’s written test with a score of 70 percent or better.
  3. Successfully water manage at least one landscape site to a water budget for 12 months. It is this third requirement, outlined in a detailed program performance description on clca.org, that busy contractors find daunting.

The 24 individuals gaining expert certification also fulfilled the first two requirements listed above, but also managed five properties at or below the water budget established by the CLCA Water Management Performance Program. Gaining expert certification proved these applicants’ mastery of water management.

The CLCA program carries the WaterSense Label from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and is also approved for continuing education units by NALP (formerly PLANET), Irrigation Association and the International Association of Arboriculture.

CLCA’s Water Management Certification Program is helping industry professionals meet new market demands due to water restrictions and skyrocketing water prices.

A significant amount of California’s urban water use is devoted to irrigating landscapes. The state’s population has increased to the point where demand is exceeding existing water supplies – and there’s no more water to make up the deficit.

Homeowners and businesses alike are feeling the pinch more than ever from increased rates, and especially now with fines for water waste (especially from noticeable runoff).

The demand on landscape contractors to provide more efficient water management is the highest it’s ever been, and will continue growing for the foreseeable future, reports CLCA.

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