As they spill out from the backs of tractor-trailers by the thousands and millions, black plastic shade balls fill California reservoirs as part of a unusual water saving strategy. The numerous spheres of plastic have been specifically engineered to stop the process that turns sun-exposed chlorine into bromate, reduce evaporation, and deter wildlife from municipal water sources. As California continues to search out new solutions in the middle of one of the most severe droughts on record, many are wondering just what kind of impact the plastic shade balls will provide.
Image Source: Imgur
“Los Angeles officials estimated at a news conference that shade balls will save somewhere around 300 million gallons of water each year. Of course, that’s nothing compared with the 13.6 billion gallons of water consumed by Los Angeles in June of this year alone. ‘This is a blend of how engineering really meets common sense,’ Marcie Edwards, general manager of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, said at the news conference Tuesday, according to ABC 7. […] The Environmental Protection Agency has mandated that all reservoirs be covered, and in Los Angeles, that would have cost an estimated $300 million to cover the 175-acre facility, ABC 7 reported. But thanks to shade balls, the bill was cut down to just $34.5 million.”