Reservoirs in California just got a new look.
While it’s been ongoing for years, the California drought took a turn this year to become one of the worst ever recorded. Water is scarce and residents are feeling the effects of the drought during the summer months. Despite statewide water conservation efforts, more extreme solutions are needed.
One answer? Just over 96 million “shade balls” to fill Los Angeles reservoirs.
Last month, the City of Los Angeles released more of the black, plastic shade balls into the Los Angeles Reservoir in addition to three other reservoirs in order to comply with Environmental Protection Agency mandates to cover all reservoirs.
Tarps would be costly and time-consuming to install, so turning the reservoirs into giant ball pits seemed the best solution. Here’s why:
What are shade balls?
The 4-inch diameter shade balls floating on top of the water are each filled with water so they don’t blow away. At a cost of 36 cents each, the project costs about $34.5 million — though it’ll end up conserving nearly 300 million gallons of reservoir water each year and provide drinking water for more than 8,000 people.
How do they help?
Shade balls protect reservoirs from algae formation, wildlife, dust, evaporation and rain and are expected to float for 10 years before they’re replaced. Thanks to their nature of constraining microorganism growth, the shade balls will aid in treatment efforts and save the city millions of dollars. They’ll also block UV rays from the sun and slow the evaporation rate of the water.
With their mesmerizing tumble in the reservoir, the shade balls were a hit among residents that watched. Some were dumped in with trucks while many people simply poured them out of large bags. Their unusual appearance in the reservoir also drew attention to the drought situation in California. Though the low-tech solution to the drought was unusual to some, the shade balls are expected to be a permanent solution.
What are you doing to conserve water during the drought? You don’t need to place any shade balls in your yard, but certain restrictions on water usage are already in place. Californians have surpassed conservation rates in recent months, though the effort is still ongoing.
At George Brazil, we’re committed to helping businesses and homes find ways to conserve water during the drought. Our professionals are available 24/7 with plumbing, heating, air conditioning, and electrical services for Los Angeles and Orange County. We put special focus low-flow and water-saving appliances. Give us a call today, and visit our California Drought Resource Center.