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Video: Garcetti Unleashes 20,000 'Shade Balls' In The Name Of Saving Water

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Mayor Eric Garcetti lent a helping hand towards water conservation this week by unleashing 20,000 "shade balls" into the Los Angeles Reservoir.

LA just completed a project at the LA Reservoir to save 300 million gallons of water by deploying shade balls on its surface, saving our city over $250 million dollars while keeping our water clean & safe.

Posted by Mayor Eric Garcetti on Monday, August 10, 2015

"Shade balls away!"The 20,000 shade balls the mayor helped roll into the reservoir in Sylmar on Tuesday were just a tiny portion of the 96 million shade balls now covering the 175-acre body of water. While it seems like a silly idea, the balls cover the entire surface of the water and protect the water from chemical reactions triggered by sunlight, birds and animals, algae growth, and rain and dust. Most importantly, since we're in a drought, the balls also prevent the evaporation of 300 million gallons of water each year.

"In the midst of California's historic drought, it takes bold ingenuity to maximize my goals for water conservation," said Mayor Eric Garcetti in a statement. "This effort by LADWP is emblematic of the kind of the creative thinking we need to meet those challenges."

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The first release of 55,000 shade balls into the reservoir, from last year:

The balls are manufactured locally by two companies, according to Bloomberg, and are designed to block UV light, last up to 25 years, and not contaminate the drinking water. And yes, they are BPA-free. At the cost of 36 cents each, the project comes at the cost of $34.5 million—a much cheaper alternative than a tarp that was estimated to cost $300 million.

The were put in place in order to meet federal standards for water quality, and are already in place in the Upper Stone, Elysian and Ivanhoe reservoirs. "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 at Monday's event, reports KPCC.

The balls were the brainchild of former LADWP biologist Brian White, who was inspired by "bird balls" used to keep birds away from bodies of water near airports. LADWP first used them in 2008 to prevent a chemical reaction from tainting the drinking water in the Ivanhoe reservoir.

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They're sort of like the balls that'll be in MacArthur Park soon but smaller and not as colorful.

While such devices are effective against harmful chemicals, birds, and evaporation, their efficacy against Pokémon is still up for debate:

Here's one more video of them, being released into Los Virgenes reservoir in June: