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Why is California is dumping little balls into its water supply? [VIDEO]

City of Los Angeles throws a little shade at it's record-breaking water problem.


August 18, 2015
by PLANT Staff

PHOTO: CITY OF LOS ANGELES

PHOTO: CITY OF LOS ANGELES

LOS ANGELES — At the height of its worst drought on record, California is doing all it can to conserve its precious water supply, and it’s doing so by literally throwing shade at the problem.

Last week, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power dove into the conservation efforts by taking a rather odd course of action – rolling out millions of small, black plastic balls to protect water quality by preventing chemical reaction triggered by sunlight, to deter birds and other wildlife and protect the water from rain and wind-blown dust, according to a press release from LA Mayor Eric Garcetti.

The little balls, the last 20,000 of which were deployed Aug. 10, are used as floating covers to reduce evaporation in the city’s water reservoirs. LA deployed 96 million of the balls across the 175 acre reservoir, a cost protection measure that is expected to save the city up to $250 million compared to other water-saving alternatives.

The city paid about $34.5 million, or $0.36 per ball, on the initiative. The solution also requires much less maintenance than other options, such as floating covers, and they don’t require construction, parts or labour other than deploying the semi-trucks to dump them into the reservoir and occasionally rotating them.

The city said the initiative is expected to reduce natural evaporation by up to 300 million gallons of water a year, which would be enough to provide enough drinking water to 8,100 people for a year.

Check out the cool video below from Mashable.

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