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Natural Resources

For Immediate Release

<p>The Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership earns a fifth WaterSense Sustained Excellence Award </p><p></p>

Santa Rosa,CA | November 02, 2021

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recognized the Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership with a 2021 WaterSense Sustained Excellence Award as a professional certifying organization, for continuing to make their Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper (QWEL) trainings and certification accessible to a wide audience.  

In response to the pandemic, the Partnership expanded its online training capability, and virtual courses were offered by May 2020. The Partnership coordinated with WaterSense to develop online classes, virtual irrigation audits, and online test proctoring for professional certification. Additionally, the Partnership worked with several colleges, including Mendocino College and Santa Rosa Junior College, to incorporate QWEL into their landscape irrigation courses. The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California took advantage of the Partnership’s work and launched a dual certification program in collaboration with the California Landscape Contractors Association (CLCA) to offer a combined course of QWEL, along with CLCA’s Certified Water Manager Program.  

Certified irrigation professionals could access webinars and technical guides through the Partnership’s quarterly newsletters and social media. The Partnership offers free Water Smart Home evaluations to promote QWEL certified professionals to residents. In addition to QWEL programming information, participants were given a do-it-yourself kit to retrofit water-wasting fixtures with high efficiency EPA WaterSense certified models. More than 1,200 evaluations were performed in 2020. 

The Partnership also continued to support a pilot project with the California Department of Water Resources, "Making Conservation a California Way of Life," which tests proposed residential water use targets for irrigation. The Partnership also co-promoted QWEL trainings and continuing education credit opportunities with the California Landscape Contractors Association's local North Coast Chapter newsletters.  

“Our award winners’ creative and committed approaches to water conservation helped consumers save water, energy, and money on their utility bills at a time when they needed it most,” said Veronica Blette, the WaterSense program manager. 

Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership represents 13 water utilities in Sonoma and Marin counties who have joined together to provide a regional approach to water use efficiency. The utilities are the Cities of Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park, Petaluma, Sonoma, Cotati, Healdsburg, Cloverdale; North Marin and Valley of the Moon Water Districts, Marin Water, Town of Windsor, California American Water - Larkfield and Sonoma Water. Visit us on the Web at