Photographer Covers California’s Drought

Last summer, as Southern California sunk into the third year of a devastating drought, San Luis Obispo photographer Brittany App noticed a disturbing trend. “People all over the place were freakin’ dumping five gallons of perfectly good, clean water on their heads and filming it,” App recalled, as part of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge fundraising campaign. “I knew I’d get challenged eventually, and I knew I had to come up with some sort of sensitive, respectful response,” App, 36, said. So, in August 2014, she launched her Five Gallon Challenge, which challenges participants to live on just five gallons a water a day — plus three toilet flushes. “As the drought has gotten worse, I feel that people are waking up to it, and slowly but surely people are changing habits,” said App, who has been documenting the effects of the drought for the past two years as part of her photography series, “Where There Once Was Water.” “That’s a great thing, but I don’t think enough of us are taking it as seriously as we should be.”

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