Water, often taken for granted, is a precious resource. Farmers, ranchers and some residents in California are probably realizing this more than the thousands of people dumping buckets of ice water over their heads. California is now under one of the worst droughts in the state’s history. Since early 2014, water rights to Central Valley farmers have been cut by 60% or more due to this drought. As a result, prices for commodities such as meat, milk, wheat and vegetables are starting to increase and will continue to do so through the end of the year.
It’s hard to believe how bad things really are, until you see it with your own eyes. The images below may shock you. So before you accept the ALS ice bucket challenge or dare another handful of friends to waste a bucket of perfectly good water, perhaps give pause and consider that water is precious and share these images with your friends. And if you feel that strongly about supporting ALS, make a donation anyway, and put up a video on Facebook of yourself dumping sand over your head, because pretty soon, that’s all that’s going to be left in the lakes of California.
Before: Here, the Enterprise Bridge spans the Lake Oroville in Butte County, California in July 2011.
After: Here, the Enterprise Bridge spans the same reservoir, which has dwindled to a mere trickle in 2014 as California is forced to draw alarming amounts of water from its vanishing reservoirs
Before: The marina at Oroville Lake, here in 2011, is the picture of serenity. Recent serious storms in Northern and Southern California have helped give the state a very small reprieve during the 3-year drought, but the effects have been described as a ‘drop in the bucket’
After: Much of what was once an engorged reservoir is now gone at Oroville. Shockingly, only a handful of Central Coast dams have fallen below the historically low 1977 levels
Before: Here, the Green Bridge passes over Lake Oroville near the Bidwell Marina in 2011. Notice the trees and shrubs that grow right against the man-made lake’s edge.
After: Fast forward to 2014 and even the massive pillars holding up the bridge can be completely seen at the lakes edge, where a wide swath of parched dirt spans between what’s left of the water and the tree line