The Los Angeles County Department of Public Works (LACDPW) paid North American Weather Consultants $500,000 for a cloud-seeding project to stimulate rain in drought-ridden Southern California.
"There are 10 of these locations throughout the San Gabriel Mountains," Kerjon Lee, of the LACDPW, recently told CBS News.
"This actually comes with a lot of science behind it," Lee added.
Cloud seeding is the practice of spraying silver iodide particles into cloud formations to attract water vapor that is very cold. The vapor freezes into tiny particles of ice, melts and causes rain.
Sometimes this is done by planes, but Los Angeles is using 10 ground stations that are strategically placed.
"It is wishful thinking," Graeme Stephens, who studies weather for NASA, said of the program.
"It's been shown under certain circumstances it works, but in a very marginal way," Stephens added. "And even then, it would be difficult to prove how much increases actually occur."
However, Lee said that, according to a 50-year study, Southern California can expect to get an additional 1.5 billion gallons of rain a year with the new program.
When planes perform cloud seeding, they leave behind line-shaped clouds, which are a combination of plane exhaust and seeding particles called "contrails" (pictured above).
Some conspiracy theorists call those line-shaped clouds “chemtrails” which, according to them, are biological weapons being sprayed on the masses by the U.S. government or another equally evil entity.
LACDPW told residents about the upcoming cloud-seeding project by placing a “Notice of Intent” in the Pasadena Star newspaper's classified section.
In response, Wake Up World, a conspiracy website, blared the headline: "Government Quietly Admits to Weather Modification Program" on March 12.
"Obviously the appropriate area of the paper to release such a controversial topic is the classifieds, where it will no doubt be noticed by all," the website added. "Sarcasm aside, it is clear they did not want anyone to take notice of this declaration of weather manipulation that has been fervently denied up until last year. Many were also unaware that in 2014 the Navy publicly confirmed previous conjecture in regards to weather modification and the HAARP facility."
However, Snopes.com noted that the LACDPW "devoted an entire page to the activity (cloud seeding) mentioned in the classified advertisement [PDF]. That document explained cloud seeding was an anti-drought measure practiced intermittently for more than half a century in Los Angeles."