FALLS CHURCH, Va. – The Irrigation Association has been named the 2013 WaterSense Partner of the Year by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, making the association the first professional certifying agency partner to win this prestigious award. 

The WaterSense Partner of the Year award recognizes those partners who help advance the mission of WaterSense, increase awareness of the WaterSense label in a measurable way and increase the adoption of water-efficient practices among their constituents or community. 

The association was honored with this award due to its exemplary efforts to make its certifications more readily available to irrigation professionals through targeted marketing campaigns, more computer-based sites, the addition of paper-pencil testing following a class, discounted exam registration during Smart Irrigation Month and the expansion of references available for certified irrigation contractor candidates. 

IA President and WaterSense Partner Bob Dobson and key members of IA staff accepted the award on behalf of the association at the WaterSmart Innovations Conference and Exposition on Oct. 3, in Las Vegas, Nev. 

IA became involved in the WaterSense program from its inception in 2006 and, by February 2007, had received the WaterSense stamp of approval on four of its certification exams: certified irrigation designer, certified irrigation contractor, certified landscape irrigation auditor and certified golf irrigation auditor. To date, EPA has a total of 1,077 WaterSense partners labeled through IA certification programs.  

As a WaterSense partner, IA not only promotes the program and the label in the marketplace but also collaborates with the EPA through the Smart Water Application Technologies initiative. WaterSense based the specification for weather-based irrigation controllers on SWAT’s testing protocol. There are currently 172 WaterSense-labeled models available in the marketplace. WaterSense is also working with SWAT on the development of a soil moisture-based irrigation controller specification. 

For more information on obtaining one of IA’s WaterSense-labeled certifications, visit www.irrigation.org/certification. Visit www.epa.gov/watersense for more information about the WaterSense program.