Water: biofuels sap supplies

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The water footprint of the growing biofuel sector should be factored into discussions about water security (Nature 467, 555–561; 2010).

The rapid expansion of biofuel crops can significantly affect regional hydrological patterns (B. G. Subhadra Science 329, 1282–1283; 2010). In India, for example, jatropha plants — a biofuel feedstock with a large water footprint (W. Gerbens-Leenes et al. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 106, 10219–10223; 2009) — are increasingly being cultivated in rural areas.

Add to this the rapidly depleting groundwater in northwest India (M. Rodell et al. Nature 460, 999–1002; 2009) and the alarm sounds for prompt policy planning by the government to safeguard India's water resources.

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See also Water: act now to restore river health

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Subhadra, B. Water: biofuels sap supplies. Nature 468, 173 (2010) doi:10.1038/468173c

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