You read that headline right. Millions of plastic balls cover the Los Angeles Reservoir in an effort to save water and improve water quality. Here's how it works.
Photo by: Gene Blevins/ZUMA via Corbis
The Los Angeles Reservoir can hold over three billion gallons of water. These 'shade balls' slow evaporation with the savings estimated at 300 million gallons of water each year. However, the balls have covered reservoirs in California since 2008 primarily to improve water quality. The balls protect water in the reservoir from sunlight-triggered chemical reactions, algal blooms, and dust blown by winds. Plus the balls deter birds and other wildlife from getting into the water.
The balls are a low-cost, low-technology solution to necessary water-saving efforts in drought-stricken California. In the latest update, 46 percent of the state is experiencing Exceptional Drought conditions.