WRD Eco Gardener Program

WRD’s Lillian Kawasaki Eco Gardener Program

The Water Replenishment District of Southern California (WRD) manages groundwater for 43 cities in southern Los Angeles County.  WRD serves approximately 4,000,000 residents or 10% of the State’s population. WRD is involved in groundwater monitoring, safe drinking water programs, groundwater replenishment operations and promoting water and energy conservation.  In southern California, landscaping irrigation accounts for an average of 50% of urban water use.  As water becomes scarce, it is apparent that water conservation is critical to the future of southern California’s water supply.

WRD’s Lillian Kawasaki Eco Gardener Training Programs train residents to become responsible “green” gardeners by implementing water conservation practices in outdoor landscapes. The existing Eco Gardener programs are geared towards educating residents on sustainable landscape design, sprinkler and drip system basics, edible gardening, drought-tolerant plants, and water efficient gardening. Through the Eco Pro Training Program, landscape maintenance crews and municipal crews increase their productivity and business skills. 


Upcoming Classes

- Sat, March 16th, 2019 | Weingart Senior Center, Lakewood | 9am - 12noon - Sustainable Landscape Design

- Thurs, April 11th, 2019 | Norwalk City Hall | 6pm - 8pm -- Sustainable Landscape Design

- Thurs, April 18th, 2019 | Norwalk City Hall | 6pm -8pm -- Drought-Tolerant Plants

- Thurs, April 25th, 2019 | Norwalk City Hall | 6pm -8pm -- Edible Gardening

- Sat, June 15th, 2019 | Weingart Senior Center, Lakewood | 9am - 12noon - Irrigation Basics


Sign Up Today!


Course Descriptions 

Sustainable Landscape Design

This workshop will help participants design a landscape that uses minimal resources such as pesticides, herbicides and especially water!  This class goes through the philosophy of creating a natural watershed on their property by using rain water as the main source of irrigating the landscape and using the irrigation system as a secondary source for water. 




Sprinkler & Drip System Basics

This workshop is designed for homeowners who are interested in learning more about the installation and maintenance of a residential irrigation systems.  The workshop is simple and practical enough for all to understand. 

The workshop will familiarize participants with the components and the layout of a residential irrigation system.  A section of the workshop is dedicated to the maintenance of the most common irrigation problems that occur in a residential irrigation system.




Edible Gardening

Turn part of your ordinary landscape into a lush edible garden.  Use your water in a way that will benefit you and your family while creating a sustainable environment that you can be proud of.  Eco Gardening Edible Gardening workshop shares tips on how to grow fruits, herbs and veggies while having fun in the garden.  Learn how to select the right edible plants that suits your needs.




Drought-Tolerant Plants

This workshop is designed to teach homeowners the importance of using California native plant material or drought tolerant plants in their garden.  Homeowners will become familiar with various trees, shrubs and groundcovers that are readily available in California and well-suited for their area.

This workshop is simple, practical and easy for all to understand.  This workshop begins with a section on “How Plants Work,” which will provide workshop participants with general knowledge.  Then the workshop participants are introduced to the common name and botanical classification of the plant material covered in the workshop.  Some topics discussed in this workshop are the plant’s growing habits, exposure preferences, water requirement and maintenance tips for each plant.



Water Efficient Gardening

This workshop combines the pertinent information of four popular topics into a 4-hour workshop.  Participants will complete the workshop and get a basic understanding of water management techniques, which will help maintain a green and healthy garden while managing their water use.

The four classes covered are Sustainable Landscape Design, Sprinkler & Drip Systems, Drought Tolerant Plants, and Edible Gardening.




History of Program:

A pilot program was initiated in the fall of 2006 with classes being held at a local junior college.  Due to its success more classes were added each year.  Following the relocation of the WRD administration offices to their current location, classes have been held there as well.  As part of the remodel of the administration building the site was landscaped by a professional landscape architect to serve as demonstration site for drought tolerant landscaping. 

Since 2006, over 8000 participants have been trained through the Eco Gardener Program with an additional 1500 participants trained through the ECO PRO program.  WRD hopes to reach another 500 participants for ECO PRO and 2000 for ECO Gardener beginning in the immediate future. 

Effective outreach and education is needed now more than ever to achieve the State mandated 20% per capita use reductions, in light of the serious drought in southern California.  The Eco Gardener Program provides gardeners, landscapers and residents at all levels of experience with hands-on demonstrations and community-specific knowledge and tools to save water. These courses are locally-tailored, free of charge, and effective for reaching the populous, under-served, environmentally-strained communities lacking access to these types of educational opportunities.  The knowledge gained by participants can be passed from person to person; the landscaper will pass the knowledge on to their customers who can then inform their families and friends within the community. 

   Lillian Kawasaki Biography 

Lillian Kawasaki was born in Denver, CO on September 17, 1950, the oldest of three children.  Her love for public service was inspired by her father who joined the Army after his release from the Manzanar Internment Camp because, in his words, “it was the right thing to do.” Lillian would later become a co-founder for the Friends of Manzanar, a volunteer organization that supports the Manzanar National Historic Site.

Lillian Kawasaki was the first Asian American department appointee for the City of Los Angeles where she headed the Department the Environmental Affairs and spearheaded major initiatives to protect air and water for the City’s four million residents.  She would later serve as General Manager of the City’s Community Development Department. Appointed by the California Governor and the U.S. Secretary of Interior, Lillian was also a member of the California Bay-Delta Public Advisory Committee (BDPAC).

Upon retiring, Lillian remained active in water issues and was elected in November 2006 to the Water Replenishment District of Southern California (WRD Socal) board, Division 3, which serves the cities of Long Beach, Cerritos, Lakewood, Signal Hill, Artesia, La Mirada and Hawaiian Gardens. Ms. Kawasaki previously served on the Long Beach Water Commission. It was during her time at WRD that Lillian initiated the Eco Gardener program at WRD.  This was a program she held close to her heart and was named after her for her commitment and dedication to public service.