Drought and California: Plastic Balls Shade LA Reservoir
In an attempt to conserve water in what seems to be an ever-lasting drought, 20,000 plastic "shade balls" were recently released in the Los Angeles Reservoir.
These black balls will float on the water's surface without releasing any chemicals, and help block sunlight and UV rays. This will, in turn, reduce the rate of evaporation from the reservoir, which drains approximately 300 million gallons of water a year; and reduce the amount of algae growth, in order to keep the water safer for consumption, according to a release.
Each "shade ball" is a four-inch-wide, hollow ball, coated with a UV-light blocking chemical and filled with water to prevent wind relocation. The balls are also designed to avoid deterioration and are expected to last ten years before needing to be recycled.
The release of these "shade balls" was the final installment of a $34.5 million project to protect the area's water supply. The plastic balls cost $0.36 each, and in total 96 million balls were released throughout three other joining reservoirs, in addition to surrounding areas, including a reservoir in the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District, which introduced "shade balls" back in June, according to another article.
Researchers have also found that carcinogens can develop when sunlight reacts with certain chemicals in the water. So, this initiative started in 2008 after Los Angeles realized that two of its reservoirs contained unusually high levels of bromate. Bromate forms when sunlight causes a reaction among bromide--a chemical found in some water--and ozone or chlorine, which are both used to disinfect water. To reduce the presence of bromate, "shade balls" were instituted to shield the water from sunlight, said the release.
For more great nature science stories and general news, please visit our sister site, Headlines and Global News (HNGN).