FRESNO, Calif. – The latest on the U.S. Bureau of Reclamations outlook for water supplies in 2016 for drought-stricken California (all times local):
Federal officials say the recent onslaught of El Nino storms only increased water levels slightly in California reservoirs that now stand at half of historic depths for this time of year.
U.S. Bureau of Reclamation spokesman Shane Hunt said Friday that the heavy rain has soaked into the landscape parched by four years of drought, and the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada has grown but not yet started to melt.
The outlook comes as federal water managers prepare to announce how much water will be available for Central Valley farmers this summer.
Officials say federally operated reservoirs that supply farms and cities throughout California's Central Valley are now 49 percent full, compared with 47 percent on Oct. 1.
David Murillo, a regional director of the federal agency, says the first Sierra Nevada snowpack in December and the El Nino storms are promising this early in the winter.