A Wet Winter Brings a Green Spring to California!

Until Friday, California had been in a state of drought emergency since 2014. Reservoirs had dropped to a fraction of capacity and residents were required to conserve and cut back on water usage for years. Now, huge areas of northern California have just experienced the wettest winter on record—months of rain have refilled reservoirs and as much as seven feet of snowfall has covered the Sierra Nevada mountains. California Governor Jerry Brown just signed an executive order to lift the state’s drought emergency in all but four counties. Getty Images photographer Justin Sullivan revisited scenes he shot in the summer of 2014, to rephotograph them this spring.

A composite comparing a view of California during severe drought in 2014 (left) and during the week that the majority of the state’s drought emergency is due to be lifted (right). Left image: The Enterprise Bridge passes over a section of Lake Oroville that is nearly dry on August 19, 2014 in Oroville, California. At the time, Lake Oroville was at 32 percent of its total 3,537,577 acre feet. Right image: The Enterprise Bridge passes over a section of Lake Oroville on April 11, 2017.

Low water levels are visible in the Bidwell Marina at Lake Oroville on August 19, 2014, in Oroville, California.

IA view of Bidwell Marina at Lake Oroville on April 11, 2017.

Low water levels are visible in the Bidwell Marina at Lake Oroville on August 19, 2014.

 

A view of Bidwell Marina at Lake Oroville on April 11, 2017.

The Enterprise Bridge passes over a section of Lake Oroville that is nearly dry on August 19, 2014.

The Enterprise Bridge passes over a section of Lake Oroville on April 11, 2017 in Oroville, California.

Low water levels are visible in the Bidwell Marina at Lake Oroville on August 19, 2014.

A view of Bidwell Marina at Lake Oroville on April 11, 2017.

The Oroville Dam spillway stands dry at Lake Oroville on August 19, 2014.

IA view of of the now heavily-damaged spillway at Lake Oroville on April 11, 2017 in Oroville, California.