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

Northridge, Calif. (KABC) — Conserving water is a priority across California, but when water restrictions kill homeowners’ grass, is there a way to keep large swaths of grass green?

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

“The cumulative savings of all these different large lawn areas will make 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 demand for spaces treated with its patented technology. In our harsh summer, the lawn remains green.

CSUN Energy and Sustainability Director Austin Eriksson has seen the savings and effectiveness of stormwater systems since 2015.

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“It’s green. It looks really good, and if you go to campus and see where we’ve installed it, you’ll notice that they’re more environmentally friendly than other locations, simply because the water is being kept at the roots,” Eh said. Rickson said.

This is done by using hydrogels – polymers that have been around for nearly 50 years and can hold large amounts of water and are commonly used in the medical field and in everyday household products.

“I’m just obsessed with using it on the lawn,” says Rain Systems’ James Seabert.

Sibert’s “Obsession” looks like a riding lawn mower, but uses 3-4,000 pounds of water pressure to create a small water hole in the ground, blowing polymer into the same hole at about the same time.

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“Once they go underground and are hydrated, they become hydrogels,” explains Elaine Sibert.

This polymer can weigh up to 200 times its weight in water, is 100% biodegradable and lasts 3-5 years, allowing water to be slowly absorbed at the roots of the turf rather than run off or sink through evaporation Too far below the turf. surface.

“Every cemetery in the world should use it. Every football field in the world should use it. Every park in the world should use it. Most homeowners should use it,” James added.

CSUN is removing 900,000 square feet of grass to replace with drought-resistant landscaping to improve water efficiency. But college campuses are similar to other large spaces that need some grass, and Rain Systems offers a way to protect those spaces while keeping them beautiful.

“This allows us to get some grass green, especially in extreme drought conditions like we are now… Hydrogels, along with a range of other strategies, have helped us use 31% less water today than we do in 2019,” Erickson said.

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

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