DISASTERS

Lower-than-normal Rocky Mountain snow offers scant encouragement to California amid drought

  • A pedestrian moves along a sidewalk while framed by branches covered with snow from a spring storm, Friday, April 3, 2015, in Denver. The dry month of March in Colorado, which is normally one of the state's snowiest months of the year, has raised concerns about water supply across the West for the summer ahead. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

    A pedestrian moves along a sidewalk while framed by branches covered with snow from a spring storm, Friday, April 3, 2015, in Denver. The dry month of March in Colorado, which is normally one of the state's snowiest months of the year, has raised concerns about water supply across the West for the summer ahead. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)  (The Associated Press)

  • Snow drapes the side of a tulip after a spring storm packing high winds and wet, heavy snow, Friday, April 3, 2015, in Denver. The lack of snow in the intermountain West in March has raised concerns about the water supply for the summer ahead. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

    Snow drapes the side of a tulip after a spring storm packing high winds and wet, heavy snow, Friday, April 3, 2015, in Denver. The lack of snow in the intermountain West in March has raised concerns about the water supply for the summer ahead. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)  (The Associated Press)

  • A man fishes off a pier at San Pablo Reservoir Recreation Area in El Sobrante, Calif., Thursday, April 2, 2015. California Gov. A spokeswoman for the East Bay Municipal Utility District said that the reservoir is about half full. Jerry Brown ordered officials Wednesday, April 1, 2015 to impose statewide mandatory water restrictions for the first time in history as surveyors found the lowest snow level in the Sierra Nevada snowpack in 65 years of record-keeping. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

    A man fishes off a pier at San Pablo Reservoir Recreation Area in El Sobrante, Calif., Thursday, April 2, 2015. California Gov. A spokeswoman for the East Bay Municipal Utility District said that the reservoir is about half full. Jerry Brown ordered officials Wednesday, April 1, 2015 to impose statewide mandatory water restrictions for the first time in history as surveyors found the lowest snow level in the Sierra Nevada snowpack in 65 years of record-keeping. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)  (The Associated Press)

Drought-weary Californians can't expect much encouragement from mountains elsewhere in the West: Snow that fills the Colorado River is lagging, too.

Federal officials said Friday that after a dry March, snowpack ranged from 51 to 79 percent of normal in the Colorado and Wyoming valleys where the river originates.

The Colorado River supplies water to about 40 million people and 6,300 square miles of farmland in seven states, including California.

The Rocky Mountain snow that melts into the river doesn't flow directly to California and other downstream users. It's held in a series of reservoirs that release enough water to fulfill southwestern states' legal allotment.

California also gets water from the Sierra Nevada range, where snow is at its lowest level in 65 years of record-keeping.