Information For

Certificate in Water Leadership & Management


"Water is Life" is more than a slogan. Water is vital to the physical and economic health of our communities.  To keep the water and wastewater industry performing in the future, there is a critical need to educate and train the next generation.  Water and its reuse has emerged as a fundamental concern for a variety of public policy debates, environmental protection and sustainability, infrastructure system needs, water quality and reliability for humans and all life equally.

There is a "tsunami" occurring from the impending loss of retiring water and wastewater professionals, particularly managers and others in these industries.  Who will provide for continuing water quality improvement and environmental protection for our oceans, rivers and streams as well managing wastewater as a renewable resource?

Future water resource management leaders will confront demands and stressors that will require multidisciplinary academic training from leadership in the industry and academic communities.  CSUSM and the statewide water resource community have formed a partnership to develop a unique Water Leadership and Management certificate program in response to these need gaps and demands for new water leaders.  This program seeks to develop leaders that will learn how to effectively and efficiently manage local, regional and statewide water resources and utility operations.

The intermediate-level certificate, offered by the CSUSM College of Business Administration and Extended Learning, is designed to prepare middle-level managers for leadership roles in the water management industry. Future certificates will address the needs of executive and entry-level employees. 

This program has been tailored for individuals currently working or interested in working in the water management industry.  Course content will include the study of regional water usage and sources, disposal and recycling, industry regulation, water infrastructure, water utility finance and investing, the impact of water shortage, and career opportunities in water management.  Courses meet on weekday evenings to accommodate the needs of working professionals.

Program Logistics

Meets: Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6-9 pm

Location: CSUSM San Marcos Campus

Course Catalog

Required Courses:

Intended Audience

  • Two years of professional or technical (e.g. legal, human resources, public administration, accounting, finance, engineering) lead or supervisory experience in the water or wastewater industry; OR
  • Two years water or wastewater industry experience with any bachelor’s degree or an AA degree in a technical, professional, or water-related major; OR
  • Bachelor’s degree plus an acceptable score on an assigned essay or presentation, and interview.

Note: Water or wastewater industry experience can be achieved while in the employ of, or providing service for, a water or wastewater agency.

Program Application


$2,940 for Certificate as a package

$480 for each of the following courses: Water Resource Planning & Development, Leadership in Water Organizations, Human Resources Management and Financial Management for Water Industry.

$720 for each of the following courses:  Environmental Policy & Regulation for Water Industry and Practicum.