Los Angeles City officials have released the final batch of shade balls into the Los Angeles Reservoir. The $34.5 million water quality protection project release a total of 96 million shade balls into the reservoir at the Van Norman Complex in Sylmar.
“This is a blend of how engineering really meets common sense. We saved a lot of money, we did all the right things,” said LADWP General Manager Marcie Edwards.
The 4-inch black balls, which are made in Los Angeles for 36 cents, protect the water against dust, rain, birds, wildlife and chemical reactions caused by the sun. It also helps keep the water in the reservoir from evaporating.
“By reducing evaporation, these shade balls will conserve 300 million gallons of water each year, instead of just evaporating into the sky. That’s 300 million gallons to fight this drought,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said.
Mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency to cover all reservoirs, initial estimates came in at $300 million to cover the 175-acre facility, but the shade balls cost less than $35 million. These major savings, both financially and environmentally, are setting Los Angeles ahead of the curve.
“While it’s meeting the minimum standards, we want to go beyond that and have the healthiest water so we’ve been spreading these balls everywhere,” Garcetti said.
City officials say shade balls last about 10 years. The LADWP says they will be removed, recycled and replaced.