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October 7, 2010 (Rancho San Diego) – Out of work and looking for a way to prepare for a new career? Cuyamaca College is offering free courses in landscape irrigation management and water use efficiency as part of the Rancho San Diego college’s Gateway to Green Water program.


The college is offering the program as the result of a $400,000 grant from the San Diego Workforce Partnership that will provide training to 100 unemployed or underemployed people with a background in landscaping or wastewater. The last round of courses being offered under the grant will lead to certificates and preparation for state and national credentialing for jobs as a landscape irrigation auditor or a water conservation practitioner.

Robert Garber, interim president of Cuyamaca College, said green technology is predicted to be a huge growth area for jobs.

“We feel very fortunate we’re able to participate in that by offering training to students that will help them find work and prosper in the green economy,” he said.

With 50 to 70 percent of the water in drought-stricken southern California being used for landscape irrigation, jobs that help companies and residents find ways to save water are expected to be in high demand. Landscape irrigation auditors are employed by landscape installation companies and maintenance contractors, while water agencies employ water conservation specialists to conduct water audits for customers and provide public education about saving water.

A 96-hour course toward a landscape irrigation auditor certificate prepares students to gather irrigation water-use data and test landscape systems, compile water records, perform water-use studies, measure irrigated sites, identify plant materials, determine irrigation water requirements and estimate potential money and water savings. Students who complete the class are eligible to take a state certification exam, with the exam fees paid through the grant.

The 40-hour course preparing students for a certificate as a water use efficiency practitioner provides information on water supply and demand, utility water demand characteristics and operations, and residential, commercial and industrial water use. After completing the class, students are eligible to take a certification exam from the state American Water Works Association. Exam fees are paid through the grant.

The next class sessions will begin Oct. 27. For more information on course offerings and eligibility requirements of the Gateway to Green Water program, e-mail Tonette Salter at or call (619) 660-4558. Information is also available at


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