SACRAMENTO, California (Reuters) - Snow levels atop California's Sierra Nevada mountains, key indicators of how much water will be available for drought-stricken farms, residents and wildlife this summer, remained precariously low despite recent storms, officials said Tuesday.
The snowpack, which melts in the spring and feeds streams and reservoirs throughout the state, has just a third of the amount of water it normally contains this time of year, said Mark Cowin, director of the state Department of Water Resources.
"We're already seeing farmland fallowed and cities scrambling for water supplies," Corwin said in a statement Tuesday after snow surveyors turned in the results of their monthly examination of snow levels. "We can hope that conditions improve, but time is running out."
Storms pummeled parts of California on throughout the weekend, lasting through the day on Tuesday, allowing the state to release more water than had been anticipated from the fragile San Joaquin-Sacramento River delta to fill reservoirs and provide waters to farms and cities.
But the rain has not brought enough water to alleviate three of the driest years on record, Cowin said.
(Reporting by Sharon Bernstein; Editing by Eric Walsh)