Boosting crops for fuel will hurt water supplies, says report
Increased production of corn and other crops to fulfill America’s biofuel gluttony could threaten both availability and quality of water supplies, according to a report released today by the National Research Council. Fulfilling President Bush’s stated goal of producing 35 billion gallons of renewable fuels by 2017 “would mean a lot more fertilizers and pesticides” running into rivers and oceans, says researcher Jerald Schnoor. In addition, he says, corn requires “a high amount of water” — about 2,000 gallons per bushel, to be precise — not counting the H2O used in ethanol factories. The National Research Council is an arm of the National Academy of Sciences, an organization that provides Congress with policy advice; still, we imagine biofuel bandwagonry will trump the report’s water warnings.