Brought to you by the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Authority.

The Water Smart Academy is created for landscape professionals looking to broaden their understanding of landscape management and irrigation systems. The free classes offer the latest in landscape irrigation best management practices (BMPs) to assure healthy, sustainable, and functional landscapes while avoiding water waste.


Lunch provided! Classes are limited to 20 participants.

Location: Bachechi Open Space 9521 Rio Grande Blvd. NW, Albuquerque, NM, 87114


Get Certified! Choose any of these sections to get your team certified as a Water Smart Contractor                      

Advanced irrigation system design, installation and maintenance techniques
October 14, 2022
7:30 am – 4:30 pm
Trainer: Jim Corcoran

Gain advanced knowledge on the sprinkler and drip irrigation systems; two-wire systems; backflow preventer applications; piping options; drip system components; soil chemical interactions; and turf, tree, and shrub selection criteria. The class also covers water-smart maintenance practices including how to manage water efficiently using ET, sprinkler precipitation rates,  infiltration rates, and how to reduce water run-off; advanced irrigation system troubleshooting; watering and pruning strategies to save water and improve plant health.

Qualified Water Efficient Landscape (QWEL) certification
October 17 to October 21, 2022
8:30 am – 1:00 pm
Trainers: Doug Pushard & Richard Perce

The Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper (QWEL) professional certification provides landscape professionals with over 20 hours of education on local water supply, sustainable landscaping, soils, landscape water budgets, irrigation system components and maintenance, and irrigation system audits, and scheduling and controller programming.  Its a great program for those starting their careers or those looking to be recognized in the sector.

“Advanced Sessions” Take your knowledge to the next level!

Free Water – effective drainage, capture and reuse of stormwater  (1.5 credit hour)
September 30, 2022
11:30 am – 1:30 pm
Trainer: Jan Loving

Smart watering is more than installing and maintaining an irrigation system.   Drainage, which involves harvesting, moving, and using stormwater is an integral part of landscape and irrigation management.  In this class, we will discuss methods to prevent or remediate damage due to stormwater as well as the beneficial use of that same water.

Free Water – effective drainage, capture and reuse of stormwater  (1.5 credit hour)
October 12, 2022
11:30 am – 1:30 pm
Trainer: Jan Loving

Smart watering is more than installing and maintaining an irrigation system.   Drainage, which involves harvesting, moving, and using stormwater is an integral part of landscape and irrigation management.  In this class, we will discuss methods to prevent or remediate damage due to stormwater as well as the beneficial use of that same water.

Proper Maintenance of Green Stormwater Infrastructure Features
November 16, 2022
11:30 am – 1:30 pm
Trainer: Mario Nuño-Whelan

Learn the proper methods to maintain permeable pavers/pavement/concrete; stormwater conveyance structures such as stormwater bumpouts, bioswales, trenches, and basins; plant maintenance in the different inundation zones; and mulch maintenance. Resources produced by the Arid LID Coalition such as the Maintenance Manual which includes maintenance checklists and frequency, as well as the video series that illustrates how to properly maintain these features.

Symptoms and Signs: Diagnosing Tree Distress
November 18, 2022
11 am – 3 pm
Trainer: Joran Viers

Trees are subject to a variety of stressors, from unfavorable environmental conditions to chemical damage, insect pests and disease pressures; it can often be difficult to narrow down likely causes. This class will focus on understanding the diagnostic process and how to apply it, and will then look into common symptoms and signs of the various issues.

Please fill out the form fields below to register for a class.

Registrations must be received by 12:00 pm the day before your class in order to secure class materials and food orders.


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Jim Corcoran: A New Mexico native with 40 years of grounds management experience at UNM, APS, Sandia Laboratories, and as a commercial landscape maintenance contractor, plus 28 years of experience in landscape and irrigation training. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in plant science and holds an MS6 Irrigation License. He is a Certified Backflow Prevention Technician and 3A & 3B Pest Management Consultant. Previously certified by the Irrigation Association for Landscape Irrigation Water Audits, he is also past President of the New Mexico Irrigation Association.

Jan Loving: President of Loving & Associates, a manufacturer’s representative for irrigation, plumbing, and industrial products in New Mexico, El Paso, and southwest Colorado and a training instructor for stormwater drainage and PVC pipe valve and fittings for more than 30 years for contractors, architects, wholesalers, and municipalities.    BA from the University of Texas at El Paso.

Joran Viers: is a life-long student of nature and the natural sciences. Viers considers himself a servant of, and steward of the planet, and he approaches his work through the broad lenses of Ecology – the rigorous study of how living beings interact with the real environment around them. This approach, bolstered with considerable detailed biological knowledge, allows Joran to provide his clients with thoughtful, broadly considered advice aimed at improving plant health through improving site health. He follows Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices and processes – which lead to better control with less unintended (and unwanted) environmental damage. Viers is trained in the biological sciences, with a Bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of New Mexico (summa cum laude) and a Master’s degree in Botany from the University of Florida. Following his university studies, Joran worked in public service for many years. Initially, he worked for the State of New Mexico as the Executive Director of the New Mexico Organic Commodity Commission, followed by a decade with New Mexico State University’s Cooperative Extension Service, where he was the County Horticulture Agent (and eventually County Program Director) until he took the position of City Forester with City of Albuquerque Parks and Recreation Department. After several years with the city, during which time he built up a side business doing arboricultural (tree-related) and horticultural consulting, Viers left the city to enter private practice full time. He is an International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Board Certified Master Arborist and holds ISA’s Tree Risk Assessment Qualification. Viers is a member of the American Society of Consulting Arborists and maintains an NMDA Commercial Pesticide Applicator’s license.

Richard Perce: has 20 years of experience with design, installation, and maintenance in the Albuquerque area in both large-scale commercial and residential realms.  For seven years he oversaw maintenance and renovations at the Intel, Rio Rancho Campus, as well as installing and maintaining Mariposa and Loma Colorado.  Richard is a Certified Landscape Irrigation Auditor, Irrigation Association, and also QWEL certified. As the Irrigation Efficiency Specialist for ABCWUA his focus is on providing customers consultations about properly maintaining and improving their irrigation systems for overall landscape health and resiliency (whether that’s hose watering or adding the newest technology in Smart Controllers).

Doug Pushard: Doug holds a Bachelor’s in Marketing and an MBA with a concentration in finance and computer science. He is a lifetime American Rainwater Catchment System Association (ARCSA) member and an Accredited Professional and an ex-Board member of ARCSA. He is a prolific writer and appeared in The New York Times, Water Efficiency Magazine, Home Power, Taos News, and Water News among others, and has a regular monthly column in the Santa Fe New Mexican. He is co-author of two water studies that have been widely published: Rainwater Harvesting Industry Market Size and Trends and First-Ever Long-Term Water Conservation Rebate Study. Doug is an EPA WaterSense Partner with Certification in Irrigation Auditing. He is an active member of the City of Santa Fe Water Conservation Committee. He is currently a member of the International Code Committee (ICC) working group that is drafting the ICC Rainwater Harvesting Building Codes. Doug is also a certified Permaculture Designer. Doug designs and consults on rainwater and water reuse systems locally and around the country. Doug and his partner, Gretchen, are active hikers, skiers, and volunteers in New Mexico.

Mario Nuño-Whelan: Mario grew up in Albuquerque and works as a landscape designer for MRWM Landscape Architects. Prior to earning a Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of Arizona in the spring of 2020, he worked on landscape crews for two years, conducting maintenance and installing residential landscapes for design-build companies in Albuquerque. He’s passionate about stormwater harvesting and creating maintainable, high desert-appropriate landscapes that serve multiple functions.