California drought: This technology helps keep the grass green while saving water


NORTHRIDGE, California (KABC) — Water conservation is a concern throughout California, but is there a way to keep large lawns green when water restrictions leave homeowners with dying grass?

Rain Systems CEO Elaine Sibert believes it is possible and can make a huge difference to all of us.

“The cumulative savings with all these different large lawns would bring about an astronomical change in water usage,” she said.

Rain Systems is a local company that provides customers such as Cal State Northridge with a 50-70% reduction in water needs for spaces treated with their proprietary technology. Turf areas that remain green during our harsh summer.

Austin Eriksson, Energy and Sustainability Director at CSUN, has seen the savings and effectiveness of Rain Systems since 2015.

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“It’s pretty green. It looks really good and if you were to walk around the campus and look at the locations where we installed this, you’d notice that they are greener than the other locations and that’s simply because the water gets held by the roots,” Ericksson said.

This is done through the use of hydrogels – polymers that have been around for almost 50 years and that can hold large amounts of water and are often used in the medical field and in everyday household products.

“I just became obsessed with using it in sod,” says James Sibert of Rain Systems.

Sibert’s “obsession” resembles a riding lawnmower, but it uses 34,000 pounds of water pressure to create a small hole of water in the ground and blows a polymer into that same hole at almost the same time.

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“Once they’re in the soil and hydrated, they become hydrogels,” explains Elaine Sibert.

The polymer can hold up to 200 times its weight in water, is 100% biodegradable and can last 3-5 years, allowing water to be absorbed slowly at the roots of the turf, rather than being lost through evaporation or too far below to sink to the ground. surface.

“Every cemetery in the world should use this. Every football field in the world should use this. Every park in the world should use this. And most homeowners should use this,” James added.

CSUN is removing 900,000 square feet of grass to be replaced with drought-resistant landscaping in an effort to be more water-wise. But a college campus is like other large spaces that need some grass, and Rain Systems offers a way to save and keep those spaces beautiful.

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“It allows us to make some of our grass green, especially in extreme drought conditions like we are in today… the hydrogels along with a whole host of other strategies have helped us reduce our water usage today by 31% less water than we were in.” 2019,” Eriksson said.

“Drought is not just a problem here in California, but all over the world. And different places are looking for solutions. We feel like in some ways we’re just getting started,” Elaine added.

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