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! Most classes are limited to 20 participants.
CEU’s for NMASLA and NM CID licenses

Location: 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

Irrigation System Fundamentals: system design, installation, and maintenance
Pro Grounds Management

This class provides an update on current landscaping regulations, standards, and codes. The class covers fundamental sprinkler and drip irrigation design and installation techniques; soil properties; design considerations; plant species id; the fundamentals of water smart landscapes; and key elements of the Water Authority’s water waste ordinance.

Advanced irrigation system design, installation, and maintenance techniques
Pro Grounds Management

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 plant selection criteria. The class also covers water-smart maintenance practices including how to water efficiently using ET, precipitation rates, infiltration rates, and how to reduce water run-off; advanced irrigation system troubleshooting.

Qualified Water Efficient Landscape (QWEL) certification
Trainer: Doug Pushard (TWO DAY SERIES)

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.

Innovative Classes! Take your knowledge to the next level

PVC Irrigation Systems – troubleshooting and adapting to low flow water use
Trainer: Jan Loving

Installing PVC Pipe, Fittings and Valves is like painting, everyone thinks they can do it.  After all, how hard could it be?  Like most things, there is a right way to solvent weld, install threaded connections, and repair PVC for trouble-free, long-lasting irrigation systems.

Electric Irrigation Valve Troubleshooting
Pro Grounds Management

Students will gain a comprehensive understanding of successful troubleshooting techniques used in identifying and solving electric irrigation valve problems. The class covers internal and external valve components, major valve types as well as how to use volt, ohm, and amp meters. Emphasis will be on how to apply troubleshooting techniques in the field.

Free Water – effective drainage, capture and reuse of
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.

Basic Hydraulics: Distribution Uniformity & Precipitation Rate
Pro Grounds Management

Static and dynamic conditions and basic design considerations and how do hydraulics affect DU & PR and ultimately how do these concepts relate to and affect turfgrass health.  We will identify factors such as source GPM, pressure losses/gains in psi, the speed limit of water in PVC pipes, future expansion, and water windows that must be considered in order to provide efficient overhead irrigation. Also, we’ll look at options to modify “inherit” inefficient irrigation systems.

Basic Soil-Plant-Water Relationships
Pro Grounds Management

Topics include soil moisture content elements, available water-holding capacity, allowable depletion, soil moisture depletion, soil water potential, soil texture, caliche, water infiltration rates, pore space, and soil compaction. Lots of popular buzzwords, but what do they mean and how do we actually apply them to our work in the field.  To be an excellent irrigation system installer and/or maintainer understanding how these variables relate to and affect each other is key.

Landscape Maintenance for Stormwater Harvesting features
Trainer: Mario Nuño-Whelan

Learn the proper methods to maintain permeable pavers/pavement/concrete; stormwater conveyance structures such as stormwater bump outs, 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.

Hands-on Low Voltage Electrical Troubleshooting (please e-mail to register for this class) Max 5 participants.
Pro Grounds Management

  • Learn hands-on low voltage troubleshooting strategies using current industry equipment such as Volt/Ohm/Amp meters, Proximity meters, Transducers, Underground Wire Locators, & Ground Fault Locators.
  • Course length: 4 hours

How to Maintain Desirable Turfgrass in Albuquerque and How to Properly Remove Unnecessary Turf

  • Practical strategies for growing healthy desirable turf while conserving water.  Also, how to practically remove unnecessary turf and retrofitting an existing irrigation system to accommodate existing trees and shrubs.  Topics include:
    • Identifying common turfgrass species in the Albuquerque area
    • Fertilizing and mowing strategies for optimal turfgrass health and decreased water consumption
    • Irrigation system evaluation to maximize efficient operation
    • Identifying pests and developing a management strategy for them
    • Evaluating an established turfgrass site to develop a successful plan to remove turf and retrofit the irrigation system to accommodate existing trees and shrubs

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

Registrations must be received by 10:00 am the day before your class in order to secure class materials and food orders.


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Jim Corcoran: Owner and President of Pro Grounds Management, Jim is a native New Mexican with over 40 years of grounds management experience @ UNM, APS, Sandia National Laboratories and as a commercial landscape maintenance contractor, plus 30 years of experience as a landscape & irrigation instructor.  He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Horticulture and has holds/has held the NM MS6 Irrigation license, Backflow Prevention certification, NMDA 3A, 3B Pest Management Consultant licenses, and the Irrigation Association CLIA & Irrigation Contractor certifications. Jim also served as one of the past President of the NM Irrigation Association and has spoken at numerous industry conferences such as Think Trees NM, Southwest Turfgrass Association, and the Association of NM County Parks.

Willie West: has over 30 years in the landscape and irrigation industry as a commercial landscape contractor as well at UNM, MRGCD, & AMAFCA.  Willie has a Bachelor of Science degree in XXX and holds/has held the NM MS6 Irrigation license, NMDA 3A & 3B licenses and is a NMDA Master Gardener.  Additionally, he has the following licenses and certifications: Irrigation Association Irrigation Contractor, Designer, Auditor, & Water Manager and he is also certified an ISA certified arborist. He too has served as a past NM Irrigation Association President and has spoken at Think Trees NM, Southwest Turfgrass and the UNM School of Architecture.

Mark Chavez: Also a native New Mexican, Mark has been a leader in Public Sector Grounds Management for over 30 years serving as the Parks Supervisor for Rio Rancho Parks, Land Management and Parks Manager for Bernalillo County Parks, Open Space Manager for the City of Albuquerque, Parks Superintendent for the City of Albuquerque and finally Associate Director of the City of Albuquerque Parks and Recreation Department. He has a strong background in turf management and water conservation.  He also is a Certified Arborist and possess a Journeyman Lawnsprinkler license.  Mark has served on the board of Think Trees, Southwest Turfgrass Association, and the New Mexico Water Conservation Alliance.  Mark has spoken at numerous industry conferences such as the Southwest Turfgrass Association and Association of County Parks.

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.

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.

Joran Viers: is a life-long student of nature and the natural sciences.  Having grown up in various remote locales where plants and animals were always present, he developed a great appreciation for the diversity of life on this planet.  Viers considers himself a servant of, and steward to, the planet, and he approaches his work through the broad lenses of Ecology.  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.

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 Masters 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 until he took the position of City Forester with City of Albuquerque Parks and Recreation Department.  After a number of years, 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 a NMDA Commercial Pesticide Applicator’slicense.

Joran is recognized throughout the local area and across New Mexico for his technical expertise and ability to diagnose complex horticultural situations, his ability to communicate to a wide variety of audiences at their technical comfort level, and his excellent educational abilities

When not working, Joran can often be found in his own garden and will most likely be barefoot.  He also enjoys river running, camping, playing music with friends and hanging out with his kids and cats.