Plastic Balls Save Water
In an effort to reduce evaporation and protect water sources from wildlife, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has come up with a unique idea—to dump 96 million small plastic spheres into the reservoir at the Van Norman complex in Sylmar, California. These black plastic balls, called shade balls, are weighted down with water to help protect the surface from sunlight.
The primary purpose is to help reduce the chlorine in the water from reacting with sunlight to become bromate, a suspected carcinogen. The balls also serve to reduce evaporation and protect the water sources from wildlife.
The reservoir holds up to 3.3 billion gallons. With the EPA mandate that all reservoirs be covered, the estimated cost to cover this 175-acre facility was $300 million. The shade balls cost $34.5 million.