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Water Harvesting Design Certification

The WMG Water Harvesting Design Certification course provides professionals, educators, and community organizers with comprehensive instruction in water-harvesting systems design and construction.
Program description

In WMG's Water Harvesting Design Certification course you will receive the highest quality and greatest depth of training in integrative water harvesting offered in the nation. Through a unique combination of hands-on and classroom instruction, the course provides a thorough, on-the-ground understanding of the core practices in this increasingly popular field. A Welcome Session (4-6pm) preludes the first full day of the course. Most course days generally run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with minor variations day-to-day (see general schedule below). 

Certified Practitioners

Watershed Management Group has a rigorous certification process to become a Certified Water Harvesting Practitioner. See a list of those that have passed our certification process.

Upcoming courses

Tucson, AZ: Due to COVID health and travel restrictions we will be postponing our March 2021 course. It will be rescheduled for Oct/Nov 2021 and a second course in Nov/Dec 2021. Details and revised course schedule coming soon. 

March 2021 Virtual Session: (details TBD) In place of the March 2021 Course we are developing a virtual session to welcome back our alumni and welcome interested future participants to learn about course updates and share highlights of how course alumni are implementing their water harvesting skills and sharing their knowledge.

Contact us if you don't want to miss course updates when they are confirmed!


Certification Course Curriculum

The curriculum provides detailed instruction on water-harvesting systems, planning, design, and installation for retrofitting urban areas. The course includes:

  • In-depth site assessment and integrated system design of rainwater harvesting earthworks, rain tanks, and greywater features
  • Hands-on training workshops to install water-harvesting systems at public, residential, or commercial sites
  • Reading and homework assignments to solidify knowledge gained in hands-on workshops
  • Final exam to earn certification

The Water Harvesting Design Certification course is designed and administered by WMG staff with assistance from professionals who teach and implement water-harvesting practices.

Meaning of Certification

Certification signifies that you have received thorough training and demonstrated a mastery of essential core concepts outlined in the curriculum.

To earn certification, participants must earn 90% on a written examination on concepts and applications of water harvesting taught in the course. Once you earn certification, you will be listed on WMG’s website as a WMG Certified Water Harvesting Practitioner, including your profession and/or business name.

Certification will teach you to:

  • Integrate water-harvesting systems with other design considerations (energy conservation, aesthetic design, food production, wildlife habitat, etc.)
  • Calculate runoff potential of catchment areas and run soil percolation tests
  • Create a water budget and match water-harvesting systems with appropriate landscaping
  • Size, design, and build appropriate earthworks features for different applications (eg. infiltration basins, berms, swales)
  • Design greywater systems for laundry, bathroom sink, and bathroom shower water
  • Construct greywater systems from a laundry machine wastewater or other fixture to irrigate landscape
  • Design, size, and install rain tanks
  • Design water-harvesting systems to support small-scale food production (including earthworks design, rain tank design and application, and soil improvements)
  • Design all of the above systems while incorporating safety and health considerations
Program requirements
  • There are no formal educational or professional requirements for this course, but applicants should have the desire and capacity to master a large amount of information in a short time.
  • Recommend participants are comfortable with unit conversions for lengths, areas, and volumes and practice and apply the Water-Harvesting Calculations listed in Appendix 3 of Brad Lancaster's Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond Volume 1 (3rd edition).
  • Base level of physical fitness. Course participants will complete three hands-on system installation workshops over the course of a week, including plumbing, digging, planting, and rock work.
  • Intellectual curiosity and the ability to read and analyze three course textbooks (Brad Lancaster's Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond volumes I and II and Art Ludwig's Create an Oasis with Greywater) before the course, in addition to completing four applied homework assignments during the course.
  • Participation in the entire training program. If a session is missed, the student must make up that session at a later date to earn certification.
  • Completion of all reading and homework assignments.
  • A passing grade of 90% on the final written exam.

Registration: $1,200 (Student discounts available)

  • Cost includes lunch and snacks provided each day of the training.
  • Pima Community College will offer 3 credits (1.5 class + 1.5 lab) if desired for an additional fee of $135. Please contact us to learn more.
  • WMG provides a limited number of needs-based scholarships up to $300 to defray costs. Students are also encouraged to apply for grants, such as workforce development or green job training funds offered through employers or city, county, or state governments.
Recent instructors
  • Brad Lancaster, Author of Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond
  • Catlow Shipek, Policy and Technical Director and Co-Founder, Watershed Management Group
  • Mark Ragel, Founder, Water Harvesting International
  • Lincoln Perino, Water Harvesting Project Manager and Designer, Watershed Management Group
  • Madeline Ryder, Water Harvesting Project Manager and Designer, Watershed Management Group
During a field-based class participants learn how to assess a site and plan for water harvesting practices Typical Schedule (subject to change)
  • Welcome Session: 4pm-6pm prior to Day 1; Introductions and facilitated discussion related to "Setting a vision and building collective action - from water harvesting to watershed restoration"
  • Day 1: 8am - 5pm - Intro; Integrated Site Design, Process, and Principles; Site Assessment Factors and Techniques; Water Harvesting Tour & Critique; Optional Happy Hour
  • Day 2: 8:30am - 5pm - Water Budget Development; Passive Systems: Design Process and Best Practices; Greywater Design Process & Best Practices; Field Project Overview (design, calculations, etc.)
  • Day 3: 8am - 4pm - Field Project Earthworks Assessment, Design, & Planning; Earthworks Project Install
  • Day 4: 8am - 5pm - Greywater Project Assessment, Design & Planning; Greywater Project Install; Rain Tank Systems: Design & Best Practices
  • Day 5: 8am - 4pm - Rain Tank Project Assessment, Design & Planning; Rain Tank Project Install 
  • Day 6: 8am - 5pm - Conceptual Design of Integrated Systems; Course Review 
  • Day 7: 10am - 4:30pm - Practicum Design Exam: Assess and Plan Development; Course Closing Session

If you have questions about the training program or application process, please email us or call 520-396-3266x4.