The horticulture sector is now officially awash with water saving specialists, thanks to the success of an online course that has recently reached a major milestone.
Since its launch a year ago, 100 professionals have now completed the ‘Water Conservation Course’ developed through a joint initiative by horticultural and landscape industry trade associations – including the Grounds Management Association (GMA) - in partnership with a number of UK water companies. The aim is to reduce the demand for water in areas labelled by the Environment Agency as “serious water stressed”.
It requires horticulture professionals to demonstrate high standards of sustainable, cost effective and environmentally sensitive use of water in gardens, parks, sports grounds and other amenity areas.
The certificate enables holders, and the companies they work for, to take a leading role in demonstrating and promoting best water management practice to the public. And, since all new homes and all commercial properties have metered water supplies, those individuals and companies have a potential competitive advantage in helping clients control their water charges, whilst enjoying the benefits of their new garden or landscaping.
GMA CEO Geoff Webb said: “We are delighted to have been involved in this industry wide initiative to raise awareness and understanding of the need to manage valuable water resources more effectively and sustainably. We continue to respond to social and environmental pressures and this e-learning course is further evidence of our desire to be at the cutting edge of developments.”
Tim Mudge, Chief Executive at the Turfgrass Growers Association, said: “The e-learning course is an important step forward for the industry. It is the first time water companies and trade associations have co-operated so closely for the benefit of the environment. We would urge everyone to take advantage of this course to help manage water in the garden, which is such a precious resource.”
The hour-long course comprises four modules focusing on planning, constructing, establishing and maintaining gardens, grounds and landscapes in ways which use minimal water. It costs £10 plus VAT and can be accessed online by visiting www.htalearning.org.uk
The course brought together the APL, BALI, HTA, GMA, RHS, SGD and TGA with Affinity Water, Anglian Water, South East Water, Southern Water, Sutton and East Surrey Water, Thames Water, Water UK and Waterwise in a unique partnership, combining their different areas of expertise on horticulture and gardening with efficient water use.