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Wireless water saver for lawns

It’s another hot summer, and California is officially in a drought, according to the Governator. A Los Angeles company, Cyber Rain Inc., has come out with a water-saving solution.

The doodad, called Cyber-Rain XCI, attaches to sprinkler systems and wirelessly looks up online weather forecasts to determine how much to water the lawn.

Hot days will see Cyber-Rain doling out more water. Cool, cloudy days would result in less watering. And, of course, the gadget lays off the drink entirely on rainy days. It’s a connected device, so you can control the schedule and monitor your water use on a PC.

About 70% of household water consumption comes from outdoor watering, according to the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. That includes water used in pools, power-hosing driveways and washing cars, as well as keeping the garden green.

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One study by the Irvine Ranch Water District found that weather-based irrigation gadgets saved households more than 40 gallons of water a day, roughly 10% of their total water use, according to Lynn Lipinski, spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Water District.

Cyber-Rain was founded by Los Angeles entrepreneur Reza Pourzia and funded by Funk Ventures Inc. in Santa Monica and Momentum Venture Management in Pasadena.

The company sells the gadget for about $350 on its Internet site, as well as at SmartHome.com.

Price too much to swallow? Water districts around the country offer rebates on qualifying products. The Metropolitan Water District, which covers most of Los Angeles, gives an $80 rebate to homeowners who buy Cyber-Rain, or one of a dozen other sprinkler controllers that qualify, for landscapes of less than an acre.

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For those with more than an acre, the district rebates $630. The district has put up a website where consumers can look up rebate information, apply for rebates and learn how to conserve water.

We haven’t played with the device yet. Once we have, we’ll post a follow-up on how things went and, if we’re really good, how much green we were able to save while keeping our garden green.


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