California Drought: ‘Shade Balls’ Dumped In Reservoir, Can Save 300 Million Gallons Of Water

California Drought: ‘Shade Balls’ Dumped In Reservoir, Can Save 300 Million Gallons Of Water
Lake Hume at 4% – 6531 Tim J Keegan / Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0
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Tens of thousands of plastic balls have been dumped into a Los Angeles reservoir as a way to tackle what is a historic drought in the state of California.


Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti deployed the final 20,000 of the 96 million “shade balls” in the city’s Sylmar-based reservoir. The move is part of the $34.5 million Los Angeles Department of Water (LADWP) initiative to protect water quality in the region.

‘California’s Historic Drought’

“In the midst of California’s historic drought, it takes bold ingenuity to maximize my goals for water conservation,” Garcetti said.

As reported by Fox News, he further said that it is an attempt that will save taxpayers millions of dollars.

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“This effort is emblematic of the kind of the creative thinking we need to meet those challenges,” he added.

Also read: California Turns To Australia For Tips To Conserve Water And Overcome Drought

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is the first company to deploy such technology to protect water quality. The company said the balls will serve the purpose by blocking sunlight, avoiding chemical reaction and preventing algae formation.

Richard Harasick, an engineer with the LADWP, said that this practice will save approximately 300 million gallons of water from being evaporated.

“It just keeps the sunlight off of it so the evaporation can’t occur at all,” said Harasick.

‘That’s 300 Million Gallons To Fight This Drought’

“By reducing evaporation, the shade balls will conserve 300 million gallons of water each year, instead of just evaporating into the sky,” Garcetti said.

“That’s 300 million gallons to fight this drought.”

Harasick added, “That’s enough water for 2,700 average homes in Los Angeles.”

Also read: Drought Crisis: California Cuts Down Excessive Water Use

While there have been numerous complaints regarding presence of plastic particulate in the water, Harasick claims the plastic balls will not pollute the water on that front.

“Nothing leeches out of it. Nothing gets in the water,” he said, as reported by CBS News.

LADWP said the installation of shade balls requires neither any labor nor technology, other than occasionally rotating them.

According to CBC News, the drought in California has led to water restrictions, water waste crackdowns and drought shaming.

With 95 percent of the state in severe drought, California is the most populous state in the country.

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