About The Written Portion Of The Certification Program

Written Test

The written test for the CLCA Certified Water Management Program is a 50 question, multiple-choice exam based on the Study Guide. An interactive document with navigational tools, the Study Guide is intended to be viewed on your computer screen. The links are “lost” when the Study Guide is viewed as a printed document. However, you still may wish to print the document or parts of the document. If you do, set page scaling to “Fit to Printer Margins” when you print it.

Test Dates and Locations

The written test is administered in various locations throughout California. View upcoming dates and locations. Watch for new test dates. They will be announced as they become available. If the posted test locations are not convenient and you would like to be notified about a possible upcoming test location or locations in California, please send an e-mail message to requestwmcp@clca.org. Put the words Written Test Notification Request in the subject header of your message, and be sure to include in the body of your message the city or region of the state in which you would like to take the test. You will then receive an e-mailed notification when and if a test is scheduled near your requested city or region.

Test Strategy

The exam consists of 50 multiple-choice questions. These questions are written to provide only one BEST answer and are NOT written as trick questions. Applicants must answer 70 percent of these questions correctly in order to pass the test. All correct answers have equal value. If you are unsure about a particular question, it is better to try to answer the question with the chance of possibly getting it correct (and earning two points) than it is to leave the answer sheet blank and definitely get it wrong.

Here are some test sample questions:

The following questions are typical of the types of items that are on the CLCA Certified Water Management Program written test.

  1. Water is commonly measured in units of:
    1. one hundred cubic feet or one thousand gallons
    2. one cubic foot
    3. one hundred gallons
    4. one thousand cubic feet or one thousand gallons
  2. Excessively long station runtimes are most likely to result in:
    1. runoff
    2. percolation
    3. soil saturation
    4. root rot
    5. all of the above
  3. While daytime temperatures are still hot in August and September, the overall watering requirement is less in those months than July because:
    1. The days are longer.
    2. The nights are cooler and the days are shorter.
    3. The nights are warmer.
    4. By this time of the year most plants are dormant.
  4. Weather Based Irrigation Controllers, also known as SMART controllers:
    1. must be properly installed and calibrated to achieve the desired results.
    2. are completely self programming
    3. require only minimal programming
    4. will always save water
  5. The most useful piece(s) of information that an irrigation audit (catch can test) can provide is(are):
    1. Precipitation Rate (P.R.)
    2. Soil type
    3. Distribution Uniformity (D.U.)
    4. Square footage
    5. Both A and D

CLCA recommends that you begin your study preparation by reading the Water Manager Certification Study Guide. If you are a landscape industry professional, CLCA believes you should feel confident that you will pass the test if you have a thorough understanding of this study guide and the accompanying supplemental files. The study guide also provides links to several other resources, should you wish to do additional test preparation.

Much of the test relies on your ability to read charts, maps, graphs and other analytical data. Examples of these visual aids are included in the Study Guide. It is imperative you familiarize yourself with these charts, maps, graphs and other analytical data.

The Study Guide is available to download in to Spanish.

All written tests are translated in to Spanish with an English version of the question in the test book, followed by a Spanish version of the question.

A copy of the charts, maps, graphs and other analytical data contained in the Study Guide will be available to you during the test and is known as the Test Supplemental Chart Guide."

Test Site Policy and Procedures

It is a good idea to plan on arriving at the test location 30 minutes early. Doing so will reduce the chances that you won't be able to take the test because you arrived late due to traffic congestion, not finding a parking spot, or getting lost on the way. The Water Management Certification written test is a closed book examination (except for the Test Supplemental Chart Guide). Cell phones must be turned off, and no reference materials may be in the immediate possession of the applicant. All other materials brought to the examination location must be left in an unmonitored area at your own risk. A pocket calculator and a pencil are the only tools allowed. Use of the calculator in your cell phone is not allowed (unless okayed by the test proctor).

Upon arrival at the test location, you will be required to fill out a basic information form to make sure that CLCA has correct contact information for you. Photo identification (driver's license or state-issued identification card) must be presented to the exam proctor. If you have not pre-registered, you will not be allowed to take the test. On-site registrations are not allowed. Registration is required at least 3 days prior to the exam date (unless okayed by the Program Administrator).

No talking is allowed during the test. If you are observed communicating with another applicant or using any electronic device other than a calculator, you will be disqualified. Failure to turn in the test booklet and answer sheet upon completion of the test also will result in disqualification. You must leave the room after you turn in your answer sheet and test booklet. Under no circumstances shall any of the testing information leave the room.

You have two hours to finish the test. Most applicants complete it with plenty of time to spare.

Test Fees

The fee to take the test is $100 for employees of CLCA members and $200 for nonmembers. The fee to retake the test is $50 for employees of CLCA members and $100 for nonmembers. CLCA assesses a $25 fee for exam cancellations unless they are received in writing seven days prior to the exam date.

Workshop Fees

The fee to take the test is a bundle rate of $200 for employees of CLCA members and $400 for nonmembers (2013). The fee to retake the test is $50 for employees of CLCA members and $100 for nonmembers. Workshop price includes:

  • Workshop day review session and irrigation audit introduction ($100 member/$200 non-member value)
  • Workshop day lunch & coffee ($15 value)
  • One-year of pre-paid water budgeting tracking software access for one user and one site ($140 member /$280 non-member value)





If you are attending a special CLCA event (LIS, Convention, Summer Event, etc.), bundle and member rates may not be applicable. Please see details on special pricing for each particular event being offered.

Test Results

Within 10 days of taking the test, applicants will be notified by e-mail of their test results. Applicants who have not already enrolled a site in the online Water Management Performance Program will be sent enrollment information for this program at that time.

To become a Certified Water Manager, you must enroll a site in the Water Management Performance Program and manage a landscape site for a one-year period. Upon completion of passing the written test, a property must be enrolled in the online Water Management Performance Reporting Site within six months, or you will need to retake the written test again. Important: You can begin the one-year performance requirement for certification at any time - you don't have to wait for the written test in order to begin the certification process (see Certification for details). There is no appeal process for applicants who do not pass the written test. Applicants who do not pass the test may retake it. The retake fee is $50 for employees of CLCA members and $100 for CLCA nonmembers.



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