It’s not like we haven’t reported on innovative, strange and extreme ways that drought-plagued people, communities and enterprises find to manage their water resources. This is not the first time we have heard about this method of limiting evaporation from reservoirs, but this time we have video. From onEarth, the magazine of the Natural Resources Defense Council:
As the drought rages on in California, things have been getting weird. Now the latest effort to protect L.A.’s water supply has just turned the city’s reservoir into a giant black-ball pit.
The 96 million plastic “shade balls” floating on the reservoir’s surface will help keep the water from evaporating, protect it from contamination by birds and other wildlife, and prevent sunlight from promoting algal growth. The balls are designed to last for about 10 years without degrading (at which point they’ll be recycled) or releasing anything harmful into the water themselves—Ed Osann, a senior policy analyst with NRDC (disclosure) tells Bloomberg, “Everything that comes into contact with drinking water has to be a certified material,” meaning it shouldn’t cause pollution problems.
ABC 7 reports that the move is millions of dollars cheaper than the alternative (which is installing a cover over the reservoir), and these spheres will save 300 million gallons of water every year. L.A. is on the ball, and other municipalities are catching on, too—watch officials from the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District release shade balls into their reservoir, too.