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Friday, Jan 27, 2023
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Irrigation Specialist Captures New Water Flow

This is not Mohamed Rausdeen’s first drought. Since he founded the Irrigation Co. more than two decades ago, the West Hills entrepreneur has seen orders for his irrigation and landscape lighting systems fall off during water crises and economic downturns. But in the past, the customers had always come back. This time is different: As the drought persists, Rausdeen realized that Southern Californians were turning away permanently from thirsty landscapes and the sprinkler systems that nurture them. His company is still in business, but Rausdeen and his daughter, Hasnaa, decided to start a second company last fall called Free Water Industries. It manufactures and sells water storage tanks that capture rainfall for irrigation and also can be used to store drinking water for earthquakes or other emergencies. “He’d had this idea for a while but when business slowed down he had the time to work on it,” said Hasnaa, 18, a Pierce College engineering student who serves as the fledgling company’s marketing manager. Father and daughter put their heads together to design and patent a modular water-catchment system that collects rain from rooftop gutters and downspouts. It features a 55-gallon water tank made of three-eighths-inch thick, food-grade resin. One tank is small enough to sit in the corner of a patio; several can be connected in a series to store up to 220 gallons of water. Free Water Industries contracts with a Gardena factory to produce the tanks and their filtered inflow connections, Hasnaa Rausdeen said. Utility spigots at the bottom of the tanks allow the water to be diverted for irrigation and other gray water uses. An alternative use for the product is for customers who want to store drinking water. Because of the food-grade resin construction, they can fill the tanks with potable water for use during an emergency, such as an earthquake. In the four months that its products have been on the market, the company has sold about two dozen units to customers from Ojai to Torrance. The tanks are sold online, at trade shows and through distributors and installers, she said. Revenue so far amounts to roughly $7,000, with the tanks priced between $200 and $300 each, depending on model and color. The young company has gotten a boost from rebates ranging from $100 to $200, offered by Metropolitan Water District and local cities such as Santa Monica. “People are starting to become interested because they want to save money on water,” Rausdeen said. “A lot of people are saying they’re buying it to lower the drought effect.” – Karen E. Klein

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