Subsurface Water Retention Technology, or SWRT for short, is a new technology intended to quench the thirst of parched crops. In areas where drought is severe and frequent, this technology would become very useful to capture what little rainfall does occur, and store the water for later use.
Developed by Alvin Smucker, an MSU professor of soil biophysics, the SWRT places polyethylene water barrier films strategically at various depths in the soil. This allows for maximum water retention as well as providing enough space for root growth.
Along with potential water savings, the films also promise to cut fertilizer costs and reduce groundwater contamination by agricultural chemicals. The barriers are faster and less labor intensive to install as well as being more durable than asphalt barriers.