California Drought: This technology helps keep grass green while still conserving water

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

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

“The cumulative savings with all these different large grasslands would make an astronomical change in how much water is used,” she said.

Rain Systems is a local company that provides customers like Cal State Northridge with a 50-70% reduction in water demand for spaces treated with their patented technology. Grasslands that stay green through our harsh summer.

Austin Eriksson, director of energy and sustainability at CSUN, has seen the savings and efficiency of Rain Systems since 2015.

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“It’s pretty green. It looks really good, and if you were to walk around campus and look at the places where we’ve installed it here, you’ll notice that they’re greener than the other places, and that’s simply because the water is being held back. at the roots,” Ericksson said.

It is done using hydrogels – polymers that have been around for almost 50 years, which can contain large amounts of water and are commonly used in the medical field and everyday household products.

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

Sibert’s “obsession” is similar to a riding lawnmower, but uses 3-4,000 pounds of water pressure to make a small hole of water in the ground, and at virtually the same instant blows a polymer into the same hole.

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

The polymer can hold up to 200 times its weight in water, is 100% biodegradable and can last for 3-5 years, allowing water to be slowly absorbed by the turf’s roots rather than being lost to evaporation or sinking far below the surface.

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

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

“This allows us to get some of our grass green, especially in extreme drought conditions like we’re in right now… the hydrogels along with a number of other strategies have helped us reduce our water use by 31% less water today than we were in 2019,” Eriksson said.

“Drought is a problem not just 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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