Artist Chris Onesto reveals the severity of California’s drought with a sardonic new project called “The California Water Company”. The fake water bottling company’s plastic vessels display plunging water levels in California, driving home the severity of the drought for the average consumer.

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Onesto’s project came about when he found that Southern Californians felt indifferent toward the increasingly desperate drought that has stricken the state. The artist took it upon himself to create a visual that he felt locals could relate to on a personal level, since the mass images of depleted reservoirs and bodies of waters seemed to be too distant from the average Californian’s life.

Related: California has just one year of water left

Given that Americans buy over 50 billion plastic water bottles per year, Onesto decided to speak the consumerist language, and devised the California Water Company campaign. Each of the bottles is in-scripted with a blurb that says the water has been sourced from a dwindling California reservoir, slated to dry up in less than a year. To reflect these plummeting water levels, the bottles are only partially filled at best.

Written in traditional ad speak, with punchy slogans and catchy imagery, the California Water Company campaign looks much like leading bottled water companies out there; except, instead of promises of replenishment and the benefits of hydration, the verbiage tells the quite serious tale of the effects of the drought. Onesto hopes this tongue-in-cheek approach will hit home with consumers who are in denial about the drought and how it will affect their daily lives.

+ Chris Onesto