The dusty decimation of California’s drought

California’s longstanding drought has escalated in recent months, with 62.7% of the state now in what the Department of Agriculture deems “extreme” conditions.

But in few places is it as easily visualized as in the area surrounding the vanishing Cachuma Lake, which has become one of the most prominent victims of the lack of rain.

In years past, the spot where Bozarth was standing was under 30, 40, even 50 feet of water. It wasn’t all that long ago that Cachuma “spilled” — filled to the brim, to the point where millions of gallons of clean, fresh water was released through the dam’s gates and cast into the sea, a display of surplus that is laughable today.

That was only three years ago. Now, said Tom Fayram, Santa Barbara County’s deputy public works director, “it’s just empty.”

Read reporter Scott Gold’s full story here.

Photos: Brian van der Brug, Lorena Iñiguez Elebee / Los Angeles Times

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