Faced by a severe drought, the city of Los Angeles has come up with an ingenious, inexpensive and brilliant hack to conserve its water resources. Black colored plastic balls called ‘shade balls’ have been dropped into the city’s reservoir as a part of efforts to check the amount of water lost due to evaporation as well as help improve the water quality.
96 million shade balls have been dropped into the 175 acre water reservoir of the city located in Sylmar which holds up to 3.3 billion gallons of water. Apart from controlling evaporation by blocking out the sunlight, balls will help “keep birds out of water near airport runways, control vapors in industrial ammonia tanks, or stop water from evaporating at petroleum operations,” elaborates Catherine Kavanaugh of Plastic News.
The balls which have been weighted with water to help them stay in one place cost $34.5 million in all, or approximately 36 cents each. But considering that they can help save 300 million gallons of water every year, the money spent seems to be well worth it. Not only that, they could save the city $250 million during their lifetime.
“By reducing evaporation, these shade balls will conserve 300 million gallons of water each year, instead of just evaporating into the sky. That’s 300 million gallons to fight this drought,” LA Mayor Eric Garcetti said at a recent press conference.
This effort by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) “is emblematic of the kind of creative thinking we need to meet [the drought’s] challenges,” he added.
The other alternatives being considered by the LADWP to check the rate at which this precious resource is being lost were splitting the reservoir into two and installing floating covers over the water body. Any of these, if used, would have cost more than $300 million.
Not only do the inexpensive shade balls serve the purpose at a fraction of the cost but also needed no construction and have almost negligible labor or maintenance costs, apart from occasional rotation. They are expected to last 10 years, after which they might need to be replaced, though the manufacturer insists they will last 25 years.
These shade balls are only a part of the city’s efforts at conserving water. They also have a new indoor reservoir coming up which will replace the existing ones at Silver Lake and Ivanhoe.
To fight drought, Los Angeles turns to “shade balls”
Article source: Metro
Pic source: REX Shutterstock via Metro
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