Water comes to San Diego from far away, like the Sierra Nevada mountains. / Photo by Ry Rivard

In one of his final pieces (sob!), Ry Rivard shares four major takeaways from his time covering water in California

He begins with the drought that led former Gov. Jerry Brown to impose a 25 percent water restriction on the state. 

“Outside of California, the general misimpression was that our taps would run dry and we’d move back to Oklahoma, a futile experiment in settling this state ended not by earthquake or fire, but by thirst,” he writes. 

Sorry to be so shamefully sentimental, but wow — really no one could turn a sentence quite like our buddy. 

Rivard left us with four main takeaways.

Our water supply is fragile. An almost meaningless amount comes from local rainfall, so most of it comes from the Colorado River. But it’s divided up among seven states and Mexico and likely to carry less because of climate change. 

There’s probably enough, if we treat it. The good news is that conservation efforts have worked during droughts. Now, San Diego and several suburban cities are working on projects to make drinking water out of sewage. 

It’s going to cost more in the future. Several major projects, like the Carlsbad desalination plant, have been touted as long-term money-savers, but you gotta build ‘em first.

Water is personal. There have been dramatic, often quiet falling-outs between longtime water officials, prompting tiffs that turn into lawsuits that could affect who gets water and who does not.

If You Want to Choose a Different School in San Diego Unified, Now Is the Time

It’s a big day for some families in San Diego Unified. 

Between now and Nov. 13, families wishing to “choice” their child into a different school will be able to submit an application… As soon as the district’s website comes back online that is. 

Throughout Monday afternoon and into Tuesday the district’s website was “off and on,” according to a district spokeswoman. 

Families can pick their first, second and third choice schools. They can apply to magnet schools or traditional public schools in other neighborhoods. 

If you’re a family feeling overwhelmed by the options, check out our 2019 School’s Guide and interactive map

The guide gives you lots of helpful tips about navigating the choice process and also tons of data about each school. You can see how schools performed on tests, how often students are chronically absent, whether a not a school offers after-school care and much more. 

Be aware: just because you submit a choice application doesn’t mean that a child will definitely get a seat. 

In fact, district officials have been limiting the number of choice seats that they open up each year. The district is opening up 20 percent less seats this year than it did last year, according to the Union-Tribune. 

Officials say they are limiting the number of choice seats to balance enrollment in the district’s many schools and also because the number of students who attend San Diego Unified is declining each year. 

(We recently wrote about how several schools across the district are seriously under-enrolled.)

Whether or not a child gets an open seat depends on several priorities of the school district as well as a lottery process. 

(Here’s a longer explainer on the choice process.)

Schools with a sibling already attending the school of choice, for instance, get preference. The district also approved a new priority this year. Students leaving a charter school or private school to attend a district school will receive priority status. 

After priority seats are awarded, the remaining seats are assigned by lottery. 

May the odds be ever in your favor. 

New Symphony Director Makes His Debut

The San Diego Symphony’s new director officially takes the baton this weekend.

Julia Dixon Evans takes a closer look at the piece being performed, Austrian composer Gustav Mahler’s 5th Symphony, and the woman who helped inspire it. She was a music student with a fiery will, but willingly gave up her composing after he made clear there could only be one artist in the family.

Also in this week’s Culture Report: a dispatch from the Bob Ross paint-along at TwitchCon 2019. 

In Other News

The Morning Report was written by Will Huntsberry and Jesse Marx, and edited by Sara Libby.

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