Water in California is serious business indeed. Though the profound scarcity hasn't quite reached Mad Max levels of detriment, the controversy surrounding how exactly to continue battling this problem is showing no signs of slowing down. One method gaining widespread implementation is the use of so-called "shade balls," black plastic balls built to maintain water quality by protecting it from sunlight and preventing potentially hazardous reactions from the supply's chlorine and bromide levels. These shade balls also prevent evaporation, a noted source of water loss in California.
"By reducing evaporation, these shade balls will conserve 300 million gallons of water each year instead of just evaporating into the sky," says Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. "That's 300 million gallons to fight this drought." The balls are projected to last at least ten years, according to Vox, with an additional 96 million of them recently dumped into the Los Angeles Reservoir at Sylmar.
Eight years ago, an unsettling water quality problem was discovered in the region by the LA Department of Water and Power. Sunlight had been turning the aforementioned combination of chlorine and bromide into bromate, a known carcinogen. The shade balls, as their name implies, provide the necessary shielding needed to prevent the formation of bromate.
Anyway, shade balls are perplexingly fun to experience visually. So, do that above.