What Are Shade Balls? California Drought Might Have Met Its Match In Millions Of Small Black Balls — VIDEO

You can now throw some shade literally in the form of a ball. California's in the middle of a devastating four-year drought, and plenty of wild schemes have been suggested to help the state during the historic water crisis. To combat the California drought, 96 million shade balls were dumped into the L.A. Reservoir as part of the latest initiative to conserve the state's precious water supply, the city announced Monday.

The concept is simple: The black balls block out the sun and prevent water from evaporating. The little plastic spheres are covered in a chemical that helps block out UV light without contaminating the water and are designed to last up to 25 years, according to Bloomberg. City officials said the plan could save up to 300 million gallons of water, enough water to keep 2,700 L.A. homes afloat.

While the whole scheme sounds pretty ridiculous, it's actually a legitimate option in preserving water at a fraction of the cost. A massive tent to cover the reservoir would cost hundreds of millions of dollars to build; these millions of shade balls, at 36 cents a pop, cost the city just $35 million.

"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," L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said during a news conference. And yes, the balls are really starting to spread everywhere. Three other California reservoirs have already put these black balls to use.

LasVirgenesMWD on YouTube

There's nothing quite like the weather gods black-balling us into innovating new engineering feats. These balls are both ridiculous and inspiring, and people, of course, are having a lot of fun tossing around their best shade balls jokes.

Me? I'll be watching this on repeat.

Images: LasVirgenesMWD/YouTube