Today's Landscapes

QWEL Q and A With PKJ Design Group’s Irrigation Specialist

Jon Avina is PKJ’s Irrigation Specialist, designing irrigation plans for projects large and small.  QWEL stands for ‘Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper’ and is an important certification not just for landscapers, but for anyone working in the green industry.  Jon completed his QWEL certification back in October, and we recently caught up with him to ask him about his experience with the process.

Q: What is QWEL? A: QWEL is a certification program to educate landscape professionals on the benefits of sound landscape design, management, and irrigation practices.

Q: Why is QWEL certification important? A: QWEL is important because it shows that you have been trained in efficient irrigation principles and sustainable landscaping practices.

Q: How does it help you professionally? A: QWEL helps me professionally by using water efficiently in my irrigation designs. It helps me select and call out the most efficient irrigation equipment. It has also helped my designs by eliminating over sprays and run-offs.

Q: When/where did you attend the QWEL training? A: I attended the training October 16-18 at the Central Utah Water Conservancy District in Orem, Utah.

Q: How long did it take? A: The first 2 days were 8 hours of classes, and the 3rd day was a 3-hour test.

Q: What was the test like? A: The test covered all the material that we had learned in the previous 2 days. It covered where our water comes from, sustainable landscaping, soils, irrigation systems, irrigation maintenance and troubleshooting, irrigation system auditing, irrigation scheduling, and irrigation controllers. You had to earn 80% to pass. I got a 93%.

Q: What were some of the things you learned that you didn’t know before? A: The main thing that I learned was how to do an irrigation audit. We actually turned on an irrigation system and placed cups all around and measured the amount of water that collected in the cups. Over a period of time, we saw where there were irrigation inefficiencies and were able to correct them.

Q: What advice would you give to someone who is on the fence about getting their QWEL certification? A: I would strongly encourage anyone that is in the landscape/irrigation field to get QWEL certified. It will teach you many things that you can use in your profession. It will also show to your future potential clients that you are willing to put the time in to further advance your knowledge on landscape and irrigation principles.

For more information on the QWEL program, visit QWEL.

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