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WaterSense

Professional Certification

Professional Cert banner

WaterSense labeled programs for irrigation professionals assess professional competency in irrigation system design, installation and maintenance, and auditing.  All labeled programs have met EPA's criteria for rigorous testing and certification processes.

Why Certification?

Helping your customers save water is a great business strategy. Customers want healthy, beautiful, environmentally friendly landscapes that don't cost a lot to maintain. Earning a professional certification through a WaterSense labeled program shows your customers that you have the knowledge and experience to help them save water and money.

Irrigation professionals certified by a WaterSense labeled program have access to exclusive benefits provided by EPA:

  • Inclusion in WaterSense's online Directory of Certified Professionals.
  • Work opportunities for WaterSense new homes projects, federal facilities, and LEED® projects.
  • Use of the WaterSense promotional label on business cards and marketing items.
  • Increased exposure to customers through national recognition from EPA as an environmental steward.
  • Access to helpful tools and materials created by EPA.

Read about certified professionals making a difference.

Certification Programs

WaterSense labels certification programs for landscape irrigation professionals that advance water-efficient irrigation techniques and practices, including:

  • Irrigation System Design: Irrigation professionals who earn a WaterSense labeled certification in system design know how to tailor irrigation systems to match the surrounding landscape and local climate conditions.
  • Irrigation System Installation and Maintenance: Irrigation professionals who earn a WaterSense labeled certification in installation and maintenance know how to select the appropriate equipment, lay out the site, and ensure proper scheduling for optimal irrigation system performance.
  • Irrigation System Audits: Irrigation professionals who earn a WaterSense labeled certification in audits can identify systems that are distributing water unequally or inefficiently and determine how to improve performance.

The WaterSense Professional Certification Program Labeling System specifies the organizational requirements a professional certifying organization must meet in order to have the professional certification program labeled under the one of the WaterSense program specifications.

WaterSense Labeled Programs 

Irrigation System Design

Certified Irrigation Designer (CID) (landscape/turf specialties only)Exit
Offered by the Irrigation Association
Available nationwide

A certified irrigation designer is a professional that prepares irrigation designs. A CID evaluates site conditions and determines net irrigation requirements based on the needs of the project. The designer selects the most effective irrigation equipment and design methods. A CID’s objective is to establish specifications and design drawings for the construction of an irrigation project. The CID certification is available nationally.

Irrigation System Installation and Maintenance

Certified Irrigation Contractor (CIC)Exit
Offered by the Irrigation Association
Available nationwide

A certified irrigation contractor is an irrigation professional whose principal business is the execution of contracts or subcontracts to install, repair, and/or maintain irrigation systems. A CIC must conduct business in such a manner that projects meet the specifications and requirements of the contract. The CIC certification is available nationally.

Irrigation System Audits

Certified Golf Irrigation Auditor (CGIA)Exit
Offered by the Irrigation Association
Available nationwide

A certified golf irrigation auditor is involved in the quantification of turf irrigation water use tailored to the unique conditions found on golf courses. Auditors collect site data, make maintenance recommendations and minor repairs, and perform field measurements and observations on golf courses. Through this data gathering, a basic irrigation schedule can be developed for greens, tees, and fairways that will assist the superintendent in making irrigation decisions. The CGIA certification is available nationally.

Certified Landscape Irrigation Auditor (CLIA)Exit
Offered by the Irrigation Association
Available nationwide

A certified landscape irrigation auditor is involved in the quantification of landscape irrigation water use. Auditors collect site data, make maintenance recommendations and minor repairs, and perform field measurements and observations. Through this data gathering, a basic irrigation schedule can be developed that will assist a site water manager or property owner manage his overall irrigation water usage. The CLIA certification is available nationally.

Certified Water Management Program Exit
Offered by the California Landscape Contractors Association
Available in California

Certified Water Managers utilize water audits, budgets and advanced irrigation technology to reduce landscape water usage. Open to all green industry professionals, this program is designed as a practical, profitable solution with a simple goal: to train water managers to provide customers with good to excellent landscape appearance using the right amount of water based on actual plant requirements. The Certified Water Management Program is available in California.

Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper (QWEL)Exit
Offered by the Sonoma–Marin Saving Water Partnership
Available in California, Utah, New Mexico, Florida, Wyoming
Available for adoption nationwide

The Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper (QWEL) training presents an affordable, proactive, and localized approach to reducing landscape water demand. QWEL provides graduates with knowledge in water efficient and sustainable landscape practices, including water management and preservation of other valuable resources. The QWEL program is available for adoption and has expanded throughout California and nationwide in a campaign to improve landscape water management around the country. The following adopting professional certifying organizations have been approved by Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership to offer QWEL as a WaterSense labeled certification:

  • California Community Colleges Agriculture, Water, Environmental Technology Sector
  • Central Iron County Water Conservancy District (Cedar City, Utah)
  • Chino Basin Water Conservation District (Montclair, California)
  • City of Gillette, Wyoming
  • City of Santa Fe, New Mexico
  • College of Western Idaho (Nampa, Idaho)
  • FL–Wet Inc. (Winter Springs, Florida)
  • Mammoth Community Water District (Mammoth Lakes, California)
  • Mojave Water Agency (Apple Valley, California)
  • New Mexico Water Conservation Alliance (Gallup, New Mexico)
  • San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District (Redlands, California)
  • San Diego County Water Authority (San Diego, California)
  • San Joaquin Delta College (Stockton, California)
  • Santa Clara Valley Water District (San Jose, California)
  • Shasta College (Redding, California)
  • Utah State University Extension, Iron County (Cedar City, Utah)
  • WaterNow Alliance (San Francisco, California)
  • Zone 7 Water Agency (Livermore, California)

Texas Certified Landscape Irrigation Auditor Program (TxCLIA)Exit
Offered by Texas A&M AgrilLife Extension Service, Texas A&M School of Irrigation
Available in Texas

Irrigation professionals and water conservation staff learn how to improve the efficiency of landscape irrigation through auditing of irrigation systems and developing irrigation schedules that conserve water while promoting quality landscapes. The course covers the eight steps of auditing including site selection for prioritizing sites based on potential water savings, inspecting irrigation system hardware, conducting field work to measure system performance, calculating irrigation schedules, and follow-up for adjusting schedules and producing audit reports. The Texas Certified Landscape Irrigation Auditor Program is available in Texas.

Watershed Wise Landscape Professional (WWLP)Exit
Offered by G3LA, LLC
Available nationwide

The Watershed Wise Landscape Professional training presents a holistic watershed approach to outdoor water use efficiency, emphasizing plant, soil, water relationships, and rainwater as a resource. Certified professionals assess the proper functioning of irrigation systems, perform irrigation water audits, recommend watering schedules, and conduct whole-site evaluations. The purpose is to certify WWLPs who demonstrate the ability to apply outdoor water efficiency concepts as a fundamental component of their practices. G3LA’s certification also requires a solid understanding of the principles of watershed management in the landscape. The WWLP program is available throughout the United States.

Tech Info for Pros

Here are some helpful tools and information on WaterSense labeled irrigation products.

Interested in webinars focused on outdoor water efficiency?

EPA WaterSense and the Alliance for Water Efficiency are partnering to provide an Outdoor Webinar Series dedicated to outdoor water efficiency topics. This webinar series, along with other WaterSense outdoor related webinars, aim to serve as tools and resources for certified irrigation professionals and other professionals looking for collaborative and effective ways to improve outdoor water efficiency in their communities.

WaterSense Technical Resources

Water Budget Tool

The WaterSense Water Budget Tool is an easy-to-use Web–based resource designed to help irrigation professionals, home builders, facility managers, and even savvy homeowners establish a water budget for a landscape. With only basic landscape information (e.g., ZIP code, general plant categories), you can use the tool to find local climate data and determine the following:

  • Landscape Water Allowance reflecting local climate data.
  • Landscape Water Requirement based on climate, plant types, and irrigation system efficiency.
  • Realistic goal for reducing unnecessary supplemental watering and assessing progress toward meeting that goal.

Water Budget Data Finder

Need more data? Use the Water Budget Data Finder to easily determine a peak watering month and the appropriate evapotranspiration (ET) and rainfall values for a ZIP code in the United States.

WaterSense Labeled New Homes

Preview the irrigation system and landscape criteria for WaterSense labeled homes or find all the details in the WaterSense new home specification.

WaterSense at Work

If you work with larger landscapes, WaterSense has developed WaterSense at Work, a compilation of water-efficiency best management practices, to help commercial and institutional facilities understand and better manage their water use. Section 5.0: Outdoor Water Use of the WaterSense at Work ( 308 pp, 5.37 K, About PDF) document provides an overview of and guidance for effectively reducing the water use associated with landscaping and irrigation.

WaterSense Labeled Landscape Irrigation Products

Look for the WaterSense label to find products that can save water without sacrificing performance. All WaterSense labeled products are independently certified to meet EPA's specifications for both water efficiency and performance. Independent third parties follow testing and certification protocols that are specific to each product category.

Weather-Based Irrigation Controllers

EPA's WaterSense Specification for Weather-Based Irrigation Controllers made these controllers the first outdoor product category eligible to earn the WaterSense label. Options for WaterSense labeled irrigation controllers include stand-alone controllers, add-on devices, and plug-in devices that are used to control watering in residential and commercial/institutional applications. To find WaterSense labeled models, use the Product Search.

For technical information about these products, their benefits, and various functions, read EPA’s four-page report on WaterSense Labeled Weather–Based Irrigation Controllers(4pp, 1.59 MB, About PDF) or review the WaterSense Labeled Irrigation Controller Fact Sheet(1 pp, 442 K, About PDF).

Spray Sprinkler Bodies

WaterSense labeled spray sprinkler bodies help deliver water evenly to the landscape and regulate pressure to reduce the water waste that occurs when sprinklers operate at water pressures that are higher than optimum levels. To find WaterSense labeled models, use the Product Search tool.

For technical information about WaterSense labeled spray sprinkler bodies, review the fact sheet, specification, and supporting statement on the Spray Sprinkler Bodies product page.

Irrigation Products in Development

EPA works with industry stakeholders to expand the number and type of products that qualify for the WaterSense label. EPA encourages you to submit comments or suggestions during the specification development process.

Soil Moisture-Based Control Technologies

EPA issued a Notice of Intent (NOI) in 2013 to develop a WaterSense specification for labeling soil moisture-based control technologies. The NOI describes the performance criteria EPA might include in a draft specification, as well as outstanding technical issues that need to be resolved. WaterSense plans to publish a draft specification in 2017.

Spray Sprinkler Nozzles

EPA issued an NOI in 2014 to develop a WaterSense specification for labeling landscape irrigation sprinklers – nozzles and bodies. WaterSense released a final specification for spray sprinkler bodies (8 pp, 625 K, About PDFin September 2017.  The program has put developing a specification for high-efficiency nozzles on hold and will issue a new NOI if it decides to move forward.