This week, AP staff photographer Gregory Bull took over our Instagram feed with photos from a tiny, drought-stricken community called Okieville, in California’s Central Valley. People living in this dusty neighborhood know the harsh reality of drought. Many of their wells have dried up, so some neighbors rig lines from house to house to share water from the remaining wells deep enough to hit water. Others benefit from state drought relief that pays for trucked-in water to fill tanks.
Miles of the nation’s most productive farms surround Okieville — a neighborhood of about 100 homes named for refugees who came west from Oklahoma during the 1930s Dust Bowl — but many residents come home at night after working in the fields and wonder if they’ll be able to take a shower or flush their toilet.
Despite these challenges, people in Okieville are proud to call it home. Rather than moving out, they’re coming together.
During Bull’s takeover, he explained the personal effect the drought has had on his own life. He writes, “For most of us in California, including my own family in San Diego, the drought is a cause we all have united around because we’ve been told it’s happening. At my house, we ripped out our grass and put in agaves. We cut down watering. But it all seemed so insignificant once I visited Okieville. It’s hard to capture in pictures the real sense of such a rapid decline. Wells went dry beneath our feet.”
To see more photos of Gregory Bull’s California Drought Town essay, visit APImages.com.
Below are the images from this week’s takeover.
Text from the AP news story, AP PHOTOS: Neighbors fill buckets, pray for rain in drought, by Gregory Bull.
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