California Gym Beats Drought With Green-Grass Scheme

PHOTO: Green Canary president Shawn Sahbari sprays green water-based paint on a partially dead lawn

At least one gym in California is trying to conserve water during what is called the state's worst drought in nearly four decades with a technology appropriate for its Silicon Valley setting.

Almaden Valley Athletic Club in San Jose, California, started using a trademarked product this week that coats brown lawns into green grass with paint.

Jeff Griffith-Jones, general manager of operations of the 38-year old fitness center, said the gym decided to pay about $600 for the services of Green Polymer Systems, a company based in nearby Los Gatos. The green treatment should last three to six months, he said.

"It looks phenomenal," Griffith-Jones said.

PHOTO: Green Canary worker Josue Bojorquez sprays green water-based paint on a partially dead lawn
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
PHOTO: Green Canary worker Josue Bojorquez sprays green water-based paint on a partially dead lawn

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While some cities in California are responding to a severe drought by charging more for water or limiting water use, San Jose doesn't have those restrictions. Last week, the state's water regulators voted to approve fines up to $500 a day for residents' excessive water use.

But the fitness center's management decided to take measures upon the concern of some of its 6,000 customers.

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"The important thing is we’re saving water and that's what our members are looking for, so that’s what’s important to us," he said.

After all, the five-acre athletic club has two swimming pools and plenty of showers and bathrooms for its guests.

When his gym members saw workers applying the treatment onto the lawn, they started asking whether the product is available for residences. (Green-Canary.com states that a treatment for the average residential lawn is about $175.)

"The members love it so much," he said. "They love the concept of it, so we display brochures," he said.

The product that coats the grass is called Green Canary and it's described on the company website as an "eco-friendly solution to dried, dormant or diseased grass." The company claims on its site that it is waterproof, non-toxic and "safe for children, elderly and pets."

The company did not respond to a request for comment from ABC News.

Griffith-Jones said Green Polymer Systems asked the gym to first let its grass turn fully brown before the treatment is applied. Otherwise, the treatment would create two tones of green on the lawn. So the gym stopped using its sprinklers about two weeks ago.

The gym still waters the lawn to keep the roots alive, but it uses only 10 percent of its former sprinkler use, Griffith-Jones said.

What if the gym's management wants to return to naturally green grass?

"If and when we decide to stop using the pigment -- the grass is still alive--we can mow off the paint," he said.

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