Hire Certified to Protect Your Landscape Investment, Save on Water Costs, and Keep Your Site Looking Good

Working with the right landscape professional is much more than hiring a low bid for manual labor. The right team will help keep your site in the best shape possible and help avoid costs related to overwatering or property damage from irrigation systems that are not properly maintained.

A number of industry certifications exist to help you choose a contractor with the skill set needed for today’s landscape challenges. Explore the information below to learn more.

If your current contractor does not hold a water efficiency certification, we encourage you to have them take the Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper certification course, which we offer at Chino Basin Water Conservation District periodically through out the year. As part of our commitment to the community, we subsidize most of the cost of the course, and all classes are taught by our expert staff instructors. To learn more visit our Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper page.

Note: Professional landscaping and landscape maintenance is a highly skilled profession, and no single certification program will make a landscape completely qualified to handle all installation and maintenance needs. You should always consider certification as one of multiple factors when deciding to hire a contractor, in addition to California Landscape Contractor (C-27) licensing status and professional references.

You can check a contractor’s licensing status with the California Contractors State License Board, here.

Visit the California Landscape Contractor Association’s page on how to hire a landscape contractor, here.

See below for information on relevant Environmental Protection Agency WaterSense professional irrigation management certification programs:

Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper (QWEL)
Offered by the Chino Basin Water Conservation District though the Sonoma–Marin Saving Water Partnership
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. For more information about Chino Basin Water Conservation District’s QWEL offerings, visit our page here.

Certified Landscape Irrigation Auditor (CLIA)
Offered by the Irrigation Association
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 
Offered by the California Landscape Contractors Association
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.

Certified Irrigation Contractor (CIC)
Offered by the Irrigation Association
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.


Water Efficiency Programs
Water Efficiency Programs

Inland Valley Garden Planner. A visioning tool for beautiful landscapes. Start Planning