From the pictures, it’s hard to tell whether California has dreamed up some creative ways to conserve water, or is just super intent on creating the world’s largest ball pit. (For the record, the drought-stricken state is doing a little of both.)
This week, municipal workers dumped the final 20,000 shade balls into the Los Angeles Reservoir, transforming the body of water into a sea of floating black spheres. The latest installation brings the total number of shade balls in California to a staggering 96 million, a number that will hopefully offset the state’s catastrophic water shortage.
Shade balls pretty much act like a jack-of-all-trades in the fight against California’s historic drought: they deflect UV rays, reduce evaporation, discourage birds and wildlife from interfering with the limited water supply, and prevent harmful algae from growing in the water. In addition, the black balls also prevent the water’s chlorine and bromite from reacting with sunlight to become bromate—a chemical thought to cause cancer. Made of polythene, these miracle balls work for up to ten years and cost just 36 cents.