by Charlene Burgi
If you have a gardener, does your gardener know:
- where the water in MMWD’s service area originates?
- how to repair a valve if it fails?
- how to determine precipitation rates (PR) and distribution uniformity, and how to correct if the PR’s don’t match or water is poorly dispersed? (And how these two factors can sorely impact your water bill if not managed properly?)
- how to best treat your garden for pests and plant diseases, and how to improve the health of your soil?
- how to locate and read your water meter, checking for potential water leaks?
- how to adjust your irrigation controller to match the evapotranspiration rate for the week so plants aren’t over- or under-watered?
There is so much more to know about landscaping than mowing the lawn and sweeping the hardscapes. For this reason, a few years ago several water agencies (including MMWD), landscape contractors and college educators from Marin and Sonoma counties met for several months to create the Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper (QWEL) program. The course was developed to train people entering the gardening and landscape profession. Since its inception, more than 280 licensed contractors, crew leaders, landscape architects and field workers have passed the course in Marin and Sonoma and now actively employ the practices they learned.
The classes cover irrigation, water management, soil science and new technology. People who finish the course take this new-found knowledge into your homes with the goal of maximizing the water efficiency while providing a healthy garden environment. The course has become so popular that other states have inquired about QWEL in order to teach it to their landscape professionals. QWEL is the first educational course to carry the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s prestigious WaterSense label. The classes are taught at College of Marin, Santa Rosa Junior College and other locations and are offered in both English and Spanish.
This long intro is to let you know we are hosting a FREE Spanish Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper course starting October 12 at Pickleweed Park in San Rafael. If your gardener speaks Spanish, this is a course you wouldn’t want him or her to miss. Please print out this flier and share it with your gardener. If this doesn’t apply to you, please share this news with friends and neighbors.
Also note there is a list of landscapers and gardeners who have completed the course already, and their contact information is posted on the QWEL website. Their knowledge could save you money.