L.A.'s Got Balls: Here's One Answer to the Drought

Brian White, a now-retired Los Angeles Department of Water and Power biologist, was the first person to think of using shade balls for water quality. The idea came to him when he learned about the application of “bird balls” to keep birds out of the ponds along airfield runways.

“In the midst of California’s historic drought, it takes bold ingenuity to maximize my goals for water conservation,” said Garcetti. “This effort by Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is emblematic of the kind of the creative thinking we need to meet those challenges.”

California Gov. Jerry Brown has been sounding the alarm for nearly two years regarding the state’s water crisis, which he blames on global warming.

While standing on dry grass where he said there should have been five feet of snow in April, Brown directed the State Water Resources Control Board to implement mandatory water reductions in cities and towns across California to reduce water usage by 25 percent.

Brown said the water savings should amount to approximately 1.5 million acre-feet of water over nine months, or nearly as much as is currently in Lake Oroville.

In addition, he issued an executive order mandating that cities and towns across California reduce water use by 25 percent. It was the first time in California’s history that mandatory restrictions on water use have been implemented statewide.

He also said the California Energy Commission would support “promising new technology” to make the state more water efficient, through state incentives.

Silicon Valley dreamers and capitalist environmentalists must have been drooling over the prospects of fattening their bank accounts, but then L.A. started rolling balls downhill.

Plastic balls made at a cost of 36 cents apiece may not be the kind of groundbreaking technology Gov. Brown had in mind, or Silicon Valley dreamed of, but Mayor Garcetti is convinced it will work.

But still, one California resident tweeted he thinks the 96 million balls are floating atop the Los Angeles Reservoir only to serve as inspiration for new Twitter jokes.