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Photos: California’s Growing Drought Disaster

After two of the driest years in decades, many of California’s reservoirs are expected to reach record-setting lows this summer, four years after exiting the state’s most recent drought emergency. Lake Oroville, the second-largest reservoir in California, stands at about 37 percent of its capacity. Governor Gavin Newsom has declared a drought emergency for most…

After two of the driest years in years, a lot of California’s reservoirs are predicted to achieve record-setting lows this summer, four years after leaving the state’s most recent drought crisis. Lake Oroville, the second-largest reservoir in California, stands about 37 percent of its capacity. Governor Gavin Newsom has declared a drought emergency for most of the nation, while farmers are still working to deal with the absence of irrigation water, and fire crews are getting ready for a potentially disastrous fire season.

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  • A truck drives over a bridge that spans a reservoir, which is filled with water at a very low level.

    In an aerial view, a truck drives on the Enterprise Bridge over a section of Lake Oroville on April 27, 2021, in Oroville, California. As of June 7, 2021, water levels at Lake Oroville had fallen 37 percent of its capability.
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    Justin Sullivan / Getty

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  • A person crumbles dry earth in their hand.

    John Yarbrough, assistant deputy director with the California State Water Project, holds dry heath that would normally be underwater as he speaks at the Lake Oroville reservoir amid low water levels throughout the California drought crisis on May 24, 2021.
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    Patrick T. Fallon / AFP / Getty

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  • The foundation of a burned house sits amid scorched trees, alongside a very low reservoir.

    A home that was destroyed in the 2020 North Complex Fire sits above Lake Oroville, photographed on May 23, 2021.
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    Noah Berger / AP

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  • A small boat moves through water beside a steep terraced bank on a reservoir.

    Water lines are observable on the steep banks of Lake Oroville as a fisherman floats by on June 1, 2021.
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    Justin Sullivan / Getty

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  • About six cows are seen in a field of dry grasses.

    Cattle graze on dried grass at a ranch on June 8, 2021, in Tomales, California. As the drought crisis continues in California, Marin County ranchers and farmers are beginning to see their ponds and wells dry up and are having to make modifications to their current water sources or have water flow in to their own livestock.
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    Justin Sullivan / Getty

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  • Two people move a concrete box alongside a long trench dug in a pasture.

    Ranchers Jim Jensen (directly ) and Bill Jensen go a concrete junction box since they work on a water project to attempt to get more water to their ranch from a nicely on June 8, 2021, in Tomales, California.
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    Justin Sullivan / Getty

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  • Water spills over a dam.

    In an aerial picture, water is observed flowing across the Feather River fish barrier dam as it diverts Chinook salmon up a fish ladder to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Feather River Hatchery below the Lake Oroville dam on May 27, 2021. The fish hatchery releases and produces juvenile fall and spring Chinook salmon and steelhead trout to mitigate missing habitat because of the Oroville Dam.
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    Patrick T. Fallon / AFP / Getty

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  • Many small salmon jump from water, penned in by screens.

    Young fingerling Chinook salmon jump from the water in a raceway at Nimbus Hatchery on May 11, 2021, in Gold River, California. Throughout the current extreme drought, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife is trucking countless young hatchery-raised Chinook salmon nearer into the Pacific Ocean to assist the fish with migration. The state is taking the activity on account of the drought and the projected low water levels in Central Valley rivers that could decrease the possibility of survival to the young migrating fish.
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    Justin Sullivan / Getty

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  • Several people maneuver a large plastic tube to the back of a tanker truck carrying water and fish.

    Salmon are transported in the truck through a large tube by California Fish and Wildlife employees on Mare Island, California, on May 11, 2021.
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    Nina Riggio / Reuters

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  • A person fishes while standing in the middle of a shallow river.

    A person fishes in the middle of this drought-stricken American River near the Sunrise Recreation Area not far from Sacramento, California, on May 10, 2021.
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    Nina Riggio / Reuters

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  • Farm machinery is used to remove hundreds of toppled almond trees.

    In an aerial perspective, a worker with Fowler Brothers Farming uses a wheel loader to transfer a heap of almond trees during an orchard removal project May 27, 2021, in Snelling, California. Since the drought crisis takes hold in California, some farmers are having to remove crops that need excessive watering because of shortage of water from the Central Valley.
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    Justin Sullivan / Getty

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  • Rows of dead trees are seen from above.

    In an aerial view, rows of toppled almond trees have been seen on the ground during an orchard removal project May 27, 2021, in Snelling, California. The farmer had 600 acres of the almond orchard removed and shredded and now plans to replace the cakes with a crop that requires less water.
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    Justin Sullivan / Getty

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  • A dry ditch that once carried irrigation water runs through farm fields.

    A dry irrigation canal runs involving almond orchards, photographed on May 25, 2021, in Madera, California.
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    Justin Sullivan / Getty

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  • Dam floodgates stand in a dry landscape, among farm fields.

    An aerial view of the floodgates of this totally sterile Berenda Reservoir, sitting idle on May 26, 2021, in Chowchilla, California.
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    Justin Sullivan / Getty

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  • A firefighter carries a branch away from thick underbrush.

    A California Conservation Corps firefighter includes a branch, a potential fuel source for a fire, towards a wood chipper during a fuel-reduction operation with all the Cal Fire/Butte County Fire Department and firefighters from the California Conservation Corps near Lake Oroville on May 26, 2021.
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    Patrick T. Fallon / AFP / Getty

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  • A path leads along a small stream in the mountains.

    Snow along Hot Creek has melted, partly due to the active geothermal field located underneath this unusual geological website, as seen on April 18, 2021, near Mammoth Lakes, California. Together with the annual Sierra snowpack at under 60 percent of regular, much of California and Nevada is now back at a”severe” or”extreme” drought situation, resulting in water constraints in many regions of California.
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    George Rose / Getty

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  • A person fills a large tank on a trailer with water.

    Carlos Soto positions a hose to his water tank as he prepares to fill it with recycled water at the Ironhouse Sanitary District residential recycled-water fill station on May 20, 2021, in Oakley, California.
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    Justin Sullivan / Getty

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  • Dozens of houseboats float in the very low waters of a reservoir.

    Houseboats are moored on the Lake Oroville reservoir, seen during the California drought emergency on May 24, 2021, in Oroville, California.
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    Patrick T. Fallon / AFP / Getty

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  • Dry and scorched vegetation stand along the steep banks of a drying reservoir.

    Dry banks rise above water in Lake Oroville, seen on May 23, 2021. At left are trees scorched from the 2020 North Complex fire.
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    Noah Berger / AP

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  • Dozens of houseboats float in a low reservoir, surrounded by steep banks.

    Houseboats are observed moored on Lake Oroville on May 25, 2021.
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    Patrick T. Fallon / AFP / Getty

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  • Floating boat docks rest on the dry bed of a low reservoir.

    Kayakers navigate a narrow segment of water near boat docks that remaining land in the Browns Ravine Cove region of drought-stricken Folsom Lake, currently at 37 percentage of its usual capacity, at Folsom, California, on May 22, 2021.
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    Josh Edelson / AP

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  • A person fishes from a boat floating in shallow water, seen through dead trees, surrounded by steep reservoir banks.

    A boater fishes on Lake Oroville on June 1, 2021.
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    Justin Sullivan / Getty

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  • An image of dry, cracked earth.

    Dry cracked earth is visible at the Browns Ravine Cove at Folsom Lake on May 10, 2021, at El Dorado Hills, California.
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    Justin Sullivan / Getty

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  • A tractor kicks up dust as it plows a dry field.

    A tractor kicks up dust as it plows a sterile area on May 26, 2021, in Chowchilla, California.
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    Justin Sullivan / Getty

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  • An aerial view shows cattle gathering around a small pond.

    An aerial view shows cows gathering around a small pond on a ranch May 26, 2021, in Snelling, California.
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    Justin Sullivan / Getty

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  • A small boat moves along the surface of a reservoir, which stands at about half its capacity.

    A ship moves along Shasta Lake on May 23, 2021, in Shasta-Trinity National Forest, California.
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    Noah Berger / AP

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