‘Dry Times’: Tracking the Human Toll of California’s Historic Drought

Fire, water, drought: For California, some of its wilderness still hasn’t recovered.

“Dry Times” is a new documentary that looks back to 2016, when California’s worst drought in decades, and the effect it had on three different California residents.

“Dry Times steps away from the political discussion and focuses on how climate shapes our everyday decisions. It’s a character-based movie that highlights the personal challenges brought on by drought,” the creators wrote.

This film dives deep into California’s complex relationship with water. It focuses on Lake Tahoe, a skier’s paradise where water and snow are abundant; the Sierra Nevadas, which provides Los Angeles counties with drinking water from snowmelt; and Catalina Island, 26 miles off the coast of Southern California, completely isolated from a consistent water source.

All three of these different climates were impacted by the drought. In telling this story, the film takes a personal approach. It follows people — a science professor, a business owner, and a ski bum — whose livelihoods were upended by the historic drought. What do they have in common? More than meets the eye.

More About the Film

“[We] have always wanted to make movies since our high school days in State College, Pennsylvania,” wrote creators Alex Gregory and Anurag Kumar. “Over time, we moved to different places but continued working towards our first movie.” By 2015, Gregory lived in Lake Tahoe and Kumar lived in Los Angeles. This was at the peak of California’s worst drought.

“We noticed the consequences right away,” they said. “We bought a DSLR camera, then started shooting.”


Outright Pictures is a film company based in California. You can read more and find the full documentary here. The documentary premiered today and is also available on iTunes, Amazon Prime, and Google Play. Runtime is 76 minutes.

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Mary Murphy
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Mary is based out of GearJunkie's Denver, CO office. She has a degree in English and Journalism, and been writing professionally for over four years. Her outdoor interests span from running to sport climbing, from landscape photography to pack-paddleboarding. If she's not writing, you can most likely find her at the top of a fourteener, or in a local bakery.

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