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In Other News: Shade Balls
August 13, 2015

BY DIANE LENKOWSKY 

California’s drought has opened the gates for creative attempts to conserve water.  Shade balls may be the most endearing. If you are anything like me, the sight of playground balls immediately brings back a wave of childhood memories. In the wake of the California drought, however, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power are utilizing a similar plastic “shade ball” to cover reservoirs. You can see a video of officials releasing shade balls on a recent NPR article on the subject. The New York Times has also picked up on the story.
 
Setting aside the ever entertaining news headlines and tweets that shade balls have provided, this item also provides a number of benefits and protections to reservoirs throughout Los Angeles. For instance, shade balls help to limit evaporation in reservoirs, protect reservoirs from algae blooms, and are more cost-effective than tarps. One alternative plan was estimated to cost approximately $300 million dollars.  The $0.36 a piece shade balls were part of a plan that cost $34.5 million instead.
 
Based on these benefits, it’s no wonder that shade balls are developing a growing fan base.
 



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