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

NORTHRIDG, Calif. (KABC)– Water conservation is a focus throughout California, but is there a way to keep large grass fields green when water restrictions are leaving homeowners with dying grass?

Elaine Sibert, CEO of rain systemsbelieves it is possible and could make a huge difference to all of us.

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

Rain Systems is a local company serving customers such as Cal State Northridge with a 50-70% reduction in water needs for the spaces treated with their patented technology. Lawns that stay green in our harsh summer.

Austin Eriksson, director of energy and sustainability 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 walked around the campus and looked at the sites where we have this installed you would see that they are greener than the other sites and that is simply because of the water being held back gets to the roots,” said Ericksson.

It does this through the use of hydrogels – polymers that have been around for almost 50 years that can absorb large amounts of water and are commonly used in the medical field and in everyday household products.

“I was just obsessed with using it on turf,” said James Sibert of rain systems.

Sibert’s “Obsession” looks like a lawnmower, but uses 3-4,000 pounds of water pressure to poke a tiny water hole in the ground, and blows a polymer down the same hole at virtually the same instant.

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

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

“Every graveyard in the world should be using this. Every soccer field in the world should be using this. Every park in the world should be using this. And most homeowners should use this,” James added.

CSUN is removing 900,000 square feet of grass to replace with drought-resistant landscaping to be more water-friendly. But a college campus is like other large spaces that need some grass, and Rain Systems offers a way to conserve those spaces while keeping them beautiful.

“This allows us to get some of our grass greens, especially during extreme drought conditions like we’re experiencing right now…the hydrogels, along with a number of other strategies, have helped us reduce our water use by 31% compared to what we saw today in 2019,” said Ericsson.

“Drought isn’t just a problem here in California, it’s a problem around the world. And different places are looking for solutions. We feel like we’re just getting started in a way,” Elaine added.

Copyright © 2022 KABC Television, LLC. All rights reserved. California drought: This technology helps keep the grass green while conserving water

Laura Coffey

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