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.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.