There was lots of attention over the weekend to the state’s water supply issues.

The New York Times had a front-page story detailing the effects of the drought on farmers in the Central Valley. They’re the biggest recipient of water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, one of San Diego’s major sources.

The Sacramento Bee touched on the same issue. Best of all, the story had this graphic that helps illustrate the low water levels in reservoirs throughout the state, as well as the dry winter and lack of snowfall in the Sierra Nevada.

And Mike Lee at the Union-Tribune had a good scoop on the county’s failure to resume beach water quality testing, a state program that was eliminated last year. The program monitored water quality at 55 beaches throughout the county.

Supervisor Greg Cox told me on Election Day that the county was starting the program up again, thanks to bond funding from the State Water Resources Control Board. That money has never manifested. From Lee’s story:

But California hasn’t been able to sell those bonds because of its budget troubles, so the county Department of Environmental Health hasn’t received any of the $302,000 it was promised. The county also hasn’t obtained the federal grant because of a contract dispute.

Supervisor Greg Cox said Thursday he “wasn’t even aware there was a delay” in getting the federal money, so his office didn’t consider the use of discretionary funds. A day later, his spokesman said Cox had been told about the financial problems and that his initial comments referred to the situation as it was weeks ago.

Cox said he hoped state payments for coastal water monitoring would soon resume because California has passed a new budget.

Supervisor Dianne Jacob, chairwoman of the Board of Supervisors, had not learned about the funding problem until the Union-Tribune called, her spokeswoman said.

Jacob referred other questions to Cox, who lobbied for the state funding at a Nov. 4 meeting in Sacramento.

ROB DAVIS

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