CLCA Landscape Water Manager Certification

Performance Program

To become a CLCA Certified Water Manager, participants must complete one year of satisfactory performance on at least one job site, in addition to passing the Written Test and submitting a landscape irrigation audit.

Performance Program participants must have direct responsibility (sign-off responsibility) for the irrigation schedule on enrolled sites. The actual setting of the irrigation controller and any irrigation upgrades may be delegated to someone else. For example, a homeowner or company owner may delegate the task of changing the controller and upgrading the irrigation system to a landscape contractor and still be eligible for certification. Participants also may enroll the landscape of their own home. However, no more than one person can claim a given site for certification. To sign up for the Performance Program visit

Performance Program Description

Objective: Objective: Based on measured landscape area, CLCA develops a landscape water budget that predicts a reasonable amount of water necessary to maintain the participating property in a healthy and viable condition. Successful completion at the end of one year fulfills the Performance Program component of certification. Participants will have access to a monthly report that compares the actual water usage to the budgeted amount for each month and year-to-date. The report will also express water usage as a percentage of reference evapotranspiration (ETo).

To Enroll

Participants will be required to provide the following information:

  1. Site Information
    • Site name (a job name or other anonymous identification is acceptable)
    • Street address, city, and zip code (This information is needed to correctly identify the water use requirements by location.)
  2. Water Meter Information
    • Meter type: irrigation-only or mixed-use
    • Scale: cubic feet or gallons (Submittal of a digital photo of the meter register is recommended when enrolling your site.)
    • For residential sites with mixed-use meters, please provide the necessary information to enable CLCA to calculate the estimated indoor usage.
    • If the site has water features or ponds that are not independently metered and are supplied by the irrigation system or mixed usage meter, please provide the surface area so that deductions can be calculated for evaporation. (Although water features and ponds can instead be added to the turf measurements, CLCA prefers that you provide separate measurements for these elements because a higher possibility exists for their future sub-metering, elimination, or abandonment.)
  3. Water Meter Readings
    • Read and enter the water meter reading on a monthly basis into the online Water Management performance program.
  4. Square Footage Measurements must be obtained for the following plant categories:
    • Turf and flowers
    • Shrubs and ground cover
    • Shrubs and trees (no ground cover)
    • Low water use plants
    • Water features
  5. Irrigation
    • Unless otherwise stated, it will be assumed that all irrigation is overhead spray or rotors. The default uniformities are .5 for impact heads, .5 for small rotors, .55 for spray heads, and .6 for large rotors. If the sprinkler type is not noted, the default uniformity for overhead irrigation is .60. If any portion of the irrigation is drip or subsurface, please provide separate square footage calculations for those areas. The uniformity for drip is .7.


Please note any other conditions that you think are important in understanding and evaluating your site(s). These could include information about microclimate, prevailing wind, irrigation uniformity, or any other condition specific to the property. However, budget adjustments for site conditions are not allowed.

Year-End Water Bill

Program participants must submit a year-end water bill or third party verification to validate performance (upon request).

Online Reporting Process

Thanks to CLCA's online reporting program you can monitor your progress instantly. After submitting your site information for 12 months, just notify Certification Manager David Silva to review your information to see if you have met the certification requirements.

Water Meter Readings

Water meter readings must be submitted each month. Failure to submit a water meter reading for three consecutive months will cause a participant's certification status to be suspended. Water bills or third party verification covering the past 12 months may be entered in lieu of monthly water meter readings to achieve the initial certification. However, maintaining a participant's certification requires that the participant continue managing the property and submitting meter readings on a monthly basis in accordance with the program requirements. Water bills or any third party verification may be used to verify usage or meter readings upon quarterly certification participants review. For all "in process" participants, readings must meet the certification criteria and be current before being reviewed.

If Budget Is Not Met

If a candidate for certification does not meet the water budget after 12 months in the program, certification will not be granted.

For a participant who has been granted certification, if, upon quarterly review, he or she is over budget for the previous 12 months, certified status will be suspended. This rule applies to both Certified Water Managers and Expert Certified Water Managers (see About the Program).

If Certified Status Is Not Granted For Failing to Meet Budget

If certified status is not granted for failing to meet the water budget, the participant will remain a provisionally Certified Water Manager if he or she has passed the written test and continues to report monthly meter readings when required.

If Certified Status Is Suspended for Failing to Meet Budget

If a participant's certified status is suspended for failing to meet the water budget, he or she will no longer be certified. The participant will be notified in writing of this change.

Substituting One Project for Another

If a participant no longer has control over a project due to a change of employer or the loss of a client, he or she has 90 days to enroll another project in the program. The participant will be judged on whether he or she met the water budget for the past 12 months using data from a combination of the two projects. Any data gap between management of the first and second project will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

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