NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. ethanol rush could drain drinking water supplies in parts of the country because corn -- a key source of the country's alternative fuel -- requires vast quantities of water for irrigation, the National Research Council reported on Wednesday.
U.S. President George W. Bush has called for production of 35 billion gallons per year of alternative motor fuels including ethanol by 2017, as part of an effort to wean the country from foreign oil. U.S. capacity to make the fuel, believed to emit low levels of greenhouse gases, has spiked about 28 percent this year to nearly 7 billion gallons.
But the use of more corn to make ethanol could drain water supplies like the Ogallala, or High Plains, aquifer, which extends from west Texas up into South Dakota and Wyoming.
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