Local water customers will soon face an unusual predicament: We’ll pay for expensive water and use it, and we’ll pay for cheaper water and watch some of it evaporate away unused.

What gives? VOSD’s Ry Rivard reports that it’s a matter of poor timing and signed contracts. The desalination plant in Carlsbad is about to go online, and county water officials have to buy its water. We’ll have cheaper water to spare, most likely, and it’ll go to a reservoir where some of it will evaporate.

Critics say the problem goes back to a bad deal with the desalination plant people, but water officials blame the state.

• Oh great. There’s now an app called DroughtShameApp, NPR reports. Want a refresher on the blame game? Check my recent story offering a Unified Theory of Drought Shaming.

Solar Customers’ Sweet Deal Could Get Soured

A major perk of going solar is the reduced – and sometimes almost nonexistent – electric bills.

They’re possible thanks to something called net energy metering, a system mandated by the state that requires Sand Diego Gas & Electric and other utilities to credit solar customers for covering all or some of their power needs at the same rate they’d otherwise pay SDG&E.

But state regulators are soon heading back to the drawing board. The current plan will be history by July 2017, or perhaps much sooner, and whatever new deal takes its place isn’t likely to be as sweet for solar customers, VOSD’s Lisa Halverstadt explains.

No one knows exactly what the new deal will look like and the solar industry’s concerned about what this means for future solar growth.

Opinion: Don’t Stop the Memories

When newspapers sack their staffs, journalists and their stories tend to focus on the fates of other journalists. But a lot more employees take care of things like selling ads, and, of course, printing the paper and getting it to homes.

It’s those employees — the non-newsies — who are taking the brunt of the cuts at the U-T as the paper consolidates operations with the L.A Times. The paper’s printing press in Mission Valley, in particular, will go dark.

In a VOSD commentary, freelance writer Jennifer McEntee pays tribute to the end of an era and remembers her own visit as a high schooler to the U-T headquarters: “The newsrooms were noisy and bustling, the professional editors who spoke to us were just the right amount of grizzled and grumbly, and the fancy cafeteria where we were treated to lunch might as well been the seventh-floor restaurant of Bergdorf Goodman.”

How the System Keeps Needy Kids Out of Pre-K

The head of preschool programs for San Diego Unified says the state is shortchanging needy families, reports KPBS: “Robin McCulloch, who runs the state’s preschool program for San Diego Unified, said parents are disqualified for preschool by small amounts all the time.”

Mario Koran found the same thing when he checked in on efforts to expand pre-kindergarten classes within San Diego Unified last year. On top of the income requirements, many parents — some of whom don’t speak English as their first language — have trouble navigating all the paperwork and tracking down necessary documents.

“The result of the system that’s in place is empty preschool seats – even though there’s a list of interested parents who want to enroll their children,” Koran wrote.

Grand Jury: More Restrooms, Please

“The city needs to install more public restrooms in downtown San Diego, establish a budget to maintain the facilities and put in signage directing people to the nearest locations, according to a county grand jury report released Wednesday.” (City News Service)

Quick News Hits: Just What We Need, More Reality

• Tina Fey and Amy Poehler action figures will go on sale at the upcoming Comic-Con. To borrow a phrase, I want to go there.

• City lifeguards are trying to preserve unusual benefits that grant them workers compensation coverage for various illnesses even if there’s no evidence that they got them from work. (CityBeat)

• San Diego is near the top on a new list of housing prices. We’re behind only San Jose, San Francisco, Honolulu and Orange County.

In other city ratings news, San Diego ranks seventh on a list of the fastest-growing U.S. cities from 2013 to 2014. Our population jumped by 21,000. Compare that to L.A.: It grew by more (30,900) but it’s nearly three times our size.

Finally, you won’t see this one coming: Chula Vista, of all places, is ranked as a terrible place to own a dog cheaply. Bow … OW!

• A new reality show called “First Dates” is looking for contestants in San Diego.

Let’s see if I qualify. They want people who are single (check!), 18-65 years old (check!) and can describe their worst dates (uh-oh). I swear, NBC, “international incident” is a total exaggeration, and I’m only banned from Dennys west of the Mississippi. Don’t call you, you’ll call me? OK. I get that a lot.

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego and national president of the 1,200-member American Society of Journalists and Authors (asja.org). Please contact him directly at randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at randydotinga@gmail.com...

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