Shade Balls: Preventing Algae and Evaporation Amidst California’s Drought

A recent New York Times article by Katie Rogers talks about an odd solution to California’s dwindling water supply. LA county is using small black balls that float on the surface of reservoir water to block UV and heat. This prevents both evaporation and algae growth from occurring. With California’s drought persistently eating away at our water supply, it’s imperative to keep what’s left clean and usable.

A small discussion we had in our lab just now revolved around whether or not the algae would still grow on top of or in between the “shade balls.” Regardless, it’s a really interesting way to solve the water problem. Not to mention amusing.

 

A truck-full of shade balls
A truck-full of shade balls (via Times Video, captured by LAS VIRGENES MUNICIPAL WATER DISTRICT on August 12, 2015)

 

Shade Balls tumbling down a ramp into the reservoir water below (via Times Video, captured by LAS VIRGENES MUNICIPAL WATER DISTRICT on August 12, 2015)
Shade Balls tumbling down a ramp into the reservoir water below (via Times Video, captured by LAS VIRGENES MUNICIPAL WATER DISTRICT on August 12, 2015)

Leave a Reply

Alex Alexiev

Alex Alexiev is a recent UC Davis graduate with a BS in microbiology working in Jonathan Eisen’s lab on aquariums as part of the microbiology of the built environment.