Growing Pains: A water-containment solution for the California drought

California Drought, plummeting water levels

California drought is easy to see in Folsom lake between 2011 and 2014

Folsom Lake in 2011 and 2014, Source: Mark Martinez

By now all Californians, and hopefully many Americans, have seen the horrendous loss of water experienced in the fourth year of the California drought. The above picture exemplify such loss, though if you’d like a better reminder, Buzzfeed has put the California drought into perspective here and here.

A lawn in Santa Cruz, Source: RYOT

Californians across the state are taking water saving measures: shorter showers, letting the lawn grow yellow, and criticizing Central Valley Almond growers and cattle ranchers. For years, motorists traveling up and down Highway 5 have seen politically motivated signage from farmers protesting water cut backs to the Central Valley mandated by Sacramento politicians. Since the California drought is at the forefront for politicians and citizens alike, the water intensive practices of Californian farmers are taking a hit. Of course many will point out the substantial contribution agriculture makes to the Californian economy, not least William Shatner. Shatner is proposing to build a water pipeline from Seattle or another place with a water surplus. Besides the troubling environmental concerns and short-term benefits of such a plan, the solution California needs must think long term. If agriculture is the biggest culprit for guzzling up water, what can be done to reduce the water-consumption footprint?

In January of this year, Sir Richard Branson sent out the above tweet identifying 15 business opportunities. Among them was the need for water-efficient agriculture, citing the Global Opportunity Report and identifying a water containment system for plants.

“Planting Technology for Deserts: Using only a one time dose of 15 liters [4.2 gallons] of water, the Groasis Waterboxx can achieve a crop survival rate of over 90% in the most water-scare environments. The box prevents water from evaporating, and collects rainwater and condensation from the surroundings, releasing only 50ml each day.”

Let’s get this straight, someone made a plant box, that you only water once AND will support the water needs of plants! This isn’t one of those far fetched miracle wonder products, the Groasis Waterboxx is a highly recognized solution for plant growth in the face of water scarcity and arid conditions. Tests in the deserts of Spain, Mexico, and Kuwait and on the Galapagos Islands have proven the system works in keeping plants alive and achieving faster growth. Read a full explanation of how the Groasis technology works.

California drought solution in the form of water containment system: the Groasis Waterboxx

The Waterbox, a solution for the California drought

Currently, agriculture uses up to 80% of California’s water resources. Imagine if all those almond trees and other crops were planted with the Groasis Waterboxx, the amount of water needed could be reduced tremendously. Reducing the water footprint, coupled with the state’s water saving measures in urban areas will allow the opportunity for water resources to replenish over time. The State of California should have a hand in making this happen.

As of now, the Waterboxx is available in the US for purchase via EarthGrow for individuals, for example this urban farming done by this Californian.

Though as described, California needs water-efficient agriculture on a mass-scale. If the Groasis Waterboxx is the solution for drought for you, contact Peter Laanen of the Laanen-the Brand directly via email here.

Written by Bo-Peter Laanen, operations at Laanen the Brand.