Stunning photos perfectly capture California's drought crisis

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Wednesday, April 8, 2015
Homes with swimming pools border the desert of this neighborhood Friday, April 3, 2015, in Cathedral City, Calif.

With California in its fourth year of a devastating drought, cities are being ordered to slash water usage.

While some cities, like Santa Cruz, have already managed to dramatically reduce their water usage, others are now being ordered to make up for their previously paltry cut-backs. San Diego and Los Angeles must cut water use by 20 percent after cutting only 2 percent and 7 percent since June.

While residents are now being told to reduce watering lawns or being offered incentives to remove lawns altogether, images of lush green grass and blue swimming pools juxtaposed against the parched shrubs of the surrounding landscapes illustrate the challenge California faces.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.