shade-balls-Los Angeles screenshot Washington Post

It’s a whole new ballgame in California, where cities are trying any idea they can think of to conserve water during the state’s historic drought.

In Los Angeles, the city’s main reservoir is now covered in 96 million black plastic balls. The “shade balls” are weighted down with ballast inside to keep them from blowing away. They float just at the surface, absorbing sunlight and keeping the water below from evaporating.WATER-FX-YouTube-solar-array-640px

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The city’s Water and Power Department figures the balls will save about 300 million gallons of precious water every year for the city. Shielded by the floating spheres, the water is also less susceptible to algae, bacterial growth, and chemical reactions in the chlorine.

“This is a blend of how engineering really meets common sense,” Marcie Edwards, the department’s general manager said at a news conference before the release.Ten_Mile_River_in-California-CC-David-Eppstein

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California officials have been testing the innovative tactic for several years now, using the plastic balls on other reservoirs in the central and southern parts of the state. Probably not the ball pits your kids would prefer, but helping put a dent in California’s long dry spell.

(WATCH the video below from CBS or READ more from the Wash. Post)

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