Fight Historic Drought by Preventing Reservoir Evaporation and Toxification

by Gerald Simmons via Flickr

Target: California Governor Jerry Brown

Goal: Fight drought by using anti-evaporation and anti-toxin technology in California’s reservoirs.

Millions of nontoxic black balls have been deployed into the Los Angeles Reservoir to help prevent water evaporation and keep sunlight from causing toxic chemical reactions in the city’s water supply. This is a vital use of technology that can keep California’s water safe and as plentiful as possible during this trying drought. Demand that this method of water preservation be used in the rest of the state’s reservoirs to fight the drought.

Though this method may sound absurd, unleashing black balls made of safe plastics into bodies of water is a proven method of preserving open stored water supplies. They float on top of the water and prevent sunlight from adversely impacting it in two ways: by mitigating evaporation, and by preventing bromine—a carcinogen made when water that contains chloride and bromide is exposed to sunlight—from forming.

These shade balls in the L.A. Reservoir are expected to save 300 million gallons of water a year, and are hundreds of millions of dollars cheaper to use than comparable sun-protecting measures like expansive cross-reservoir tarps. With this kind of effectiveness—and California currently weathering the worst drought in its history—this tactic needs to be employed across the state’s reservoirs wherever it is feasible.

Shade balls are made of safe plastics and their black color comes from carbon black that is safely locked away when used as a pigment, so they themselves present minimal risk to whatever water they float in. Sign the petition below to urge California’s Governor Jerry Brown to deploy this technology around the state’s reservoirs to preserve and protect the water supplies the state still has.


Dear Governor Brown,

I am writing you today regarding your state’s severe drought. As I’m sure you’ve heard, Los Angeles recently deployed millions of “shade balls” into the L.A. Reservoir in order to preserve and protect its water supply. This is a safe and effective tactic that should be employed all over your state.

You don’t need to be told how dire the straits are for California’s water supply. This is the worst drought in recorded history, and though scientists are predicting a heavy El Niño year, the weather will almost certainly not bring enough rain to put your state back on the right track.

Shade balls, like Los Angeles used, can be an important component of your anti-drought arsenal. They not only prevent evaporation from open-air reservoirs—Los Angeles alone is expecting to conserve 300 million gallons of water every year—but they also prevent sunlight from catalyzing chemical reactions in the water that leads to carcinogens and other toxins.

Obviously shade balls cannot be deployed in all of your state’s reservoirs, but they can and should be used wherever they are feasible—the preservation of your state’s existing water supplies could depend on it. I urge you to employ shade balls wherever they can be used effectively in your state so that communities can have viable water sources for as long as possible.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Gerald Simmons

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