orSome 96M shade balls have been released onto the surface of the Los Angeles Reservoir, in a move that will save more than 300M gallons of water lost each year through evaporation.
The project, described by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) general manager Marcie Edwards as ‘engineering meets common sense’ cost US$34.5M (£22M) but aims to save £160M compared to alternative measures.
In total 96M balls – costing £0.23 each – have been released on the 175-acre reservoir that holds 3.3bn gallons. The small, black plastic balls protect water quality by preventing sunlight-triggered chemical reactions, deterring birds and other wildlife, and protecting water from rain and wind-blown dust.
The alternative measures considered included splitting the reservoir into two with a bisecting dam and installing two floating covers.
Source: LA Mayor Eric Garcetti
LADWP general manager Marcie Edwards said: “Shade balls are a great example of how engineering meets common sense. Our water system has significantly changed since William Mulholland built it more than 100 years ago. As we make updates, we are mindful to be wise and practical with our investments. Shade balls are an affordable and effective way to comply with regulations, and helps us continue to deliver the best drinking water to our customers.”
LA mayor Eric Garcetti added: “In the midst of California’s historic drought, it takes bold ingenuity to maximize my goals for water conservation. 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.”