What are those balls in the Los Angeles Reservoir?

You may have seen the news reports floating around online about a new effort to protect the quickly depleting water resources in Los Angeles. The city has invested over $34 million in “shade balls” to protect this vital resource. They hope their investment will pay off.

Last week, 96 million shade balls were dumped down the slope of the reservoir and into the water, creating what some online users have dubbed “the world’s largest ball pit.” The city posted a video highlighting their accomplishment on social media, which was quickly shared around the globe.

“The shade balls are BPA-free and, in addition to saving water from evaporating, also reduce algae blooms so our water is cleaner,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti on his Facebook page. “When we wanted to update the reservoir, the original estimate was over $300 million, but with these shade balls we ended up spending only $0.36 for each ball, coming in at just $34.5 million to get the same result. They will also prevent the annual loss to evaporation by about 300 million gallons of water for the 3.3 billion-gallon, 175-acre LA Reservoir.”

According to a news release, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is the first utility company to use this technology for water quality protection. The balls will protect the water from sunlight, deter birds and other wildlife and also protect water from rain and wind-blown dust.

“In the midst of California’s historic drought, it takes bold ingenuity to maximize my goals for water conservation,” said Mayor Garcetti in the release. “This effort by LADWP is emblematic of the kind of the creative thinking we need to meet those challenges. Together, we’ve led the charge to cut our city’s water usage by 13%, and today we complete an infrastructure investment that saves our ratepayers millions and protects a vital source of drinking water for years to come.”

To date, California is experiencing one of the worst droughts on record and while El Niño looks to bring a bit of relief to parts of the state, climatologists say it will not reverse the drought conditions. Although other parts of the country have experienced long periods of drought this year, all communities need to take note of the importance of water conservation. As a resident, you play a pivotal role in conservation efforts by reporting and repairing leaks and breaks in your water lines, which is critical to maintaining adequate water supplies. Don’t let your resources waste away – protect your water today!

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