It’s difficult not to notice the 96 million little black plastic balls bobbing in Los Angeles reservoirs. The “Shade Balls” are partially filled with water and are designed to help “protect the region’s water supply from contaminants and evaporation” during the drought. The black carbon balls absorb UV rays which will prevent the evaporation of millions of gallons of water.
According to CNBC, the use of the Shade Balls was inspired by a former biologist with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. He read about an airport using similar balls to keep birds from landing in ponds near the runways. Each ball costs $0.36 to make. The City of Los Angeles bought 96 million = $34.5 million. However, the investment is estimated to save $250 million. Here’s the press release.