The city of Los Angeles completed the process of dumping 96 million 4-inch plastic “shade balls” into the LA Reservoir yesterday, the Los Angeles Times reports, proving that when it comes to dumping millions of plastic balls into the public water supply, LA totally has SF beat.
According to the LA Times, the shade balls help prevent evaporation and will save three billion gallons of water over ten years. That's apparently worth the $36.5 million price tag (about $0.36 a ball) for the drought-ridden city, especially considering that a tarp would (outrageously) cost $300 million.
Still, science and cost-saving aside, whoever came up with shade balls was a hilarious, crafty, possibly evil, and presumably rich genius. Who looks at a reservoir, imagines turning it into a bouncy ball pit, and manages to convince the government of one of the nation's largest cities to give him the money to do just that?* A genius, that's who.
[jump] Here is a mesmerizing video of shade balls being deployed into a reservoir in Las Virgenes. It's amazing.
And here's a video of a shade ball deployment in Los Angeles from over a year ago. It takes a long time to dump 96 million balls out of trucks.
And here's a video of LA Mayor Eric Garcetti helping dump in the final 20,000 balls on Monday.
I don't know where we should put them, but San Francisco definitely needs shade balls.
*(Apparently it was the probably perfectly nice retired biologist Dr. Brian White but still.)