Stunning Before and After Photos of California’s Lakes Depleted by Extreme Drought

Image credit: Google Earth (before image), California Department of Water Resources (after image).

Chris Dolce (Weather Channel): Mountain snowfall plays a big role in the water supply for California, particularly in the Sierra Nevada.

California’s reservoirs are severely depleted due to the ongoing widespread drought conditions in the state. As of Jan. 21, 2014, 67 percent of California was in extreme drought, the second worst category possible on the U.S. Drought Monitor.

According to the California Department of Water Resources, Lake Shasta and Lake Oroville are only 36 percent of capacity. Folsom Lake is just 17 percent capacity.

Starting with Folsom Lake above, we’ve matched up recent photos of these three depleted lakes from the California Department of Water Resources with images from Google Earth that show the lakes when they were much fuller. Move your mouse over each image to see the startling comparison.


U.S. Drought Monitor California
Once-In-1200-Year California Drought Bears Signature Of Climate Change
Leading Scientists Explain How Climate Change Is Worsening California’s Epic Drought
The Water Levels Of The Middle East’s Biggest Lake Have Dropped 95 Percent In Two Decades
China’s Largest Freshwater Lake Dries Up: Is the Massive Three Gorges Dam to Blame?

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  1. So, there was a time in the past that the water was about at the level that it now is. Because no one build a bridge under water.

  2. What if home owners and others leave their toilets connected to the city drain, and disconnect other drains of the home to drain off in the back yards,
    i would let my waste water drain into a large steel plate bowl, so that some water will evaporate and some water will go into the ground smart balance you pay for the water, why do you return the water to the seller?

    The government complicates things more because of money problems if i had the money and power i would run a ¾ inch plastic pipe just like a telephone wire is across the country, i would put a few pumps to pump water to a tank on a high hill or mountain, and let gravity transport the water to dry areas, my old pump from italy was powerful enough to pump water 200 feet up in a 1½ pipe, so
    if a mountain is 1000 feet high, i would only need to power 5 – 8 pumps, what i am trying to say is once the pipes are in place the biggest cost is over with, the ¾ inch pipes could drop water in deserts for 24 hours a day as needed to moisten the environment.

    In short term help experiment i think ocean water should be pumped into tanker trains transported to very hot areas and dropped into large steel plate bowls, the heat will evaporate the water and thenit should rain soon, i think this experiment should be tried out, i really think it would work well, i like this idea because it is so basic if i had the extra money, i would come out and help out in the project, i like to see water in action!

  3. We have been poisoning God’s soils, fruits, vegetables, animals and food supplies with chemicals for a long time now. We have been irrigating God’s land with salt water from the ocean which our children must live in California desert in the near future. We are destroying God’s creations.
    Therefore, we surly deserve these disasters. Cold weather, drought, sickness, and on . . Ask not what your country can do for you, ask God for help.
    Happiness is submission to God. But, media is trying so hard to deny our Creator, by TV, sex, and intoxicants. Thank God for Youtube.

  4. Excellent production. Check out my aerial videos of Folsom on my channel (look in the “Recent Uploads” playlist… We’re in big trouble this summer!

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