California drought is officially over: See how the state has recovered in these before-and-after photos

David Sim

After years of brown fields and cracked earth, the California drought is officially over. Months of drenching storms and melting snowpack have replenished reservoirs, which began drying up in late 2011. Governor Jerry Brown has lifted most stipulations of an emergency order he implemented in January 2014, about two years after the conditions crossed the line into drought.

In 2014, IBTimes UK published photos showing the water levels in California's reservoirs before and after the drought was declared. The same photographer, Justin Sullivan, has returned to the same spots to show how they have recovered. Move your mouse/finger over each image to switch between 2014 and 2017.

California drought before and after

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California drought before and after
California drought before and after

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California drought before and after
California drought before and after

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California drought before and after
California drought before and after
California drought before and after
California drought before and after
California drought before and after
California drought before and after
California drought before and after
California drought before and after
California drought before and after

The drought cost the agricultural economy billions, killed an estimated 100 million trees, led a half-million acres of farmland to be lie fallow and deprived some communities of reliable sources of drinking water.

Environmentalist warn that California is not out of danger completely. The state uses more water each year than nature makes available, and one wet winter won't change the long-term outlook. "Water may appear to be in abundance right now," said Kate Poole, director of the Natural Resources Defence Council. "But even after this unusually wet season, there won't be enough water to satisfy all the demands of agriculture, business and cities, without draining our rivers and groundwater basins below sustainable levels."


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