Friday, August 14, 2015

96 Million "Shade Balls" Are A Calfornia Drought Buster

"Shade balls" being dumped into a Los Angeles
 reservoir to prevent water loss through evaporation
as the long California drought continues.  
The Great California Drought continues to drag on, made worse as the unrelenting summer sun evaporates water from reservoirs.

Los Angeles has one solution: Shade balls.

Shade balls are plastic balls that Los Angeles officials dumped into the city reservoir, the surface of which covers 175 acres, says the Los Angeles Times. 

The shade balls 96 million of 'em in this reservoir - are made out of the same material that your plastic gallon milk jugs are made of.

They float on the water to slow evaporation from the reservoir. Officials think the balls will prevent about 300 million gallons of water a year from evaporating from the reservoir, reports the Los Angeles Times.

The balls also prevent algae growth and help preserve water quality.

Each shade ball costs only about 36 cents, but since they're using 96 million of these things, the cost of the Los Angeles reservoir shade ball project is $34.5 million.

That's a TON of money, but much less likely than another alternative that was dreamed up. Putting protective tarps over the reservoir would have cost about $300 million, says the Los Angeles Times.

Each four inch diameter shade ball will probably last roughly 10 years before they start to degrade and split, and probably have to be fished out of the reservoir.

Environmental officials said the type of plastic used in making the balls poses no risk to humans who drink the water.

Hey, when it doesn't rain, you need to do something to save water, right?  A reservoir covered with plastic balls is surely better than an empty one during a drought.

Here's the local news report on this from ABC7:

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