By John Lee
One giant step in the search for discovering potential for life on Mars is discovering water. Well, it was, until scientists have confirmed for the first time that liquid water, on top of the ice caps they have already known about for a long time, is flowing on the surface of Mars.
This proves to be exciting news for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); still, some doubt the magnanimous impact this discovery can actually have. People have argued against space exploration since its emergence as a major industry, but this situation entails specific attention from us Californians who are struggling to find water close to home.
The United States Congress has allocated about $17.5 billion towards NASA; California has allocated about $1 billion towards drought relief, according to the Washington Post. The former has and continues to invest in new technologies and discoveries that have great potential benefits for the future; the latter has struggled to adequately handle its problem.
According to the National Drought Mitigation Center, over the past year, the percentage of California’s area suffering from severe drought has only fallen about 3%. Yet, the reason for California’s inability to cope with its water shortage is not because NASA receives more funding; rather, it is because the money it has is not being utilized efficiently.
Governor Jerry Brown’s plan, unveiled in March, has done little more than poke at the problem. Almost 70% of the drought relief funds have ironically gone to flood control projects. A significant portion of the rest has gone to direct, but temporary aid, such as food assistance and emergency drinking water, while the larger water recycling and desalination projects that have been initiated may not be finished when we most need them.
Perhaps California could take a few pointers from NASA. For something that may seem so trivial and risky, it has managed to find water on a planet 225 million kilometers away while we sit here in the scorching heat as the State Water Board continues to place tighter and tighter restrictions on our water use without much signs of hope for actual relief. It is about time California stops trying to water down the true, undeniable scope of our dry situation.
California needs to spend its resources to find real solutions.