The WMG Water Harvesting Certification provides a unique, hands-on 65-hour curriculum in water harvesting systems design and construction, with an emphasis on retrofitting urban areas while working in concert with the local environment.
This rigorous, physically and intellectually challenging course include readings, written homework assignments, site assessments, outdoor workshops, and lectures. A typical day consists of a 4-5 hour workshop in the morning, followed by 2-3 hours of classes in the afternoon. WMG’s experiential approach provides students with practical experience and critical thinking skills that is useful to participants in a wide variety of careers.
WMG Tool Training Workshop: 2 hour training prior to course
2) Digging tools
3) Hand tools
4) Power tools
5) Materials and applications
1) Integrated systems design
2) Passive rainwater harvesting design and installation (land contouring for water catchment)
- French drains and infiltration features (design only)
3) Greywater harvesting design and installation
- Bathroom sinks and showers (design only)
- Laundry machine (design and installation)
4) Cistern systems design and installation
- Steel culvert cistern
- Plastic cistern
5) Sustainable Landscaping
- Fundamentals of landscape design
- Native plants
- Backyard food production
- Calculating water budgets
6) Water harvesting for food production
7) Water harvesting policy
Major course components (water harvesting earthworks, cisterns/tanks, and greywater systems) each feature:
- Classroom sessions: Lectures by field professionals
- On-site site assessments: Assessing site conditions, measuring elevations, calculating water budgets, and planning integrated designs incorporating site owner’s objectives
- Hands-on installation workshops: Implementation of passive earthworks, greywater systems, and cisterns, which includes physical labor and use of hand and power tools
- Applied homework: 4 assignments to evaluate rooftop runoff, cistern sizing, greywater discharge, and to develop site plans
Integrated systems design, sustainable landscaping, water harvesting for food production and water harvesting policy are covered both in interactive classroom sessions and are integrated into hands-on workshops.
The following texts are required reading for the course and should be purchased at least a month in advance so that readings can be completed prior to the start of the course:
- Water Harvesting for Drylands Volumes I and II, by Brad Lancaster
- The New Create an Oasis with Greywater by Art Ludwig
The approximate cost to purchase the books new is $80. Books can be purchased online on sites such as amazon.com; in Tucson, Antigone Books often carries or can order these texts.
Exam for Certification
To earn Certification, participants must attend all course sessions, complete all homework assignments, and earn a 90% score on an exam administered by WMG at the end of the course. The exam is challenging, and focuses on critical thinking and practical application instead of rote memorization. Support is given throughout the course to prepare for the exam. If students do not pass the exam, they will receive personalized feedback from WMG staff and can retest at the next scheduled test date without a fee. For more information on the meaning of Certification, click here.
Curriculum Advisory Board
A board of water harvesting professionals provides guidance on the curriculum of the WMG Water Harvesting Certification to ensure the program’s excellence and relevance in an ever-changing field. The Certification Advisory Board currently includes the following members:
- Cado Daily, Senior Program Coordinator, Water Wise Program, University of Arizona Cochise County Cooperative Extension
- Brad Lancaster, Consultant & author of Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond
- Dr. James Riley, Associate Professor, Soil, Water & Environmental Science Department, University of Arizona
- Craig Sponholtz, Principal, Dryland Solutions