Eyebrows definitely rose when city planners in Illinois and Iowa realized that approximately 300 million gallons of water would be needed in the production of 100 million gallons of ethanol yearly. Both states are major producers of the alternative fuel at No. 2 and No. 1 respectively.
But scientists reassured state and city governments that while the demand is high, neither will affect state supplies. They point to Chicago, which uses 500 million gallons daily from Lake Michigan. The Illinois cities of Champaign and Urbana, where a nearby ethanol plant is proposed, use 23 million gallons of water daily. The Mahomet Aquifer in Illinois is estimated to contain 13 trillion gallons, more than enough to meet the demands of proposed ethanol plants as well as the needs of the various farms, homes, and industries. Ethanol supporters state corn shortages are more likely to decrease ethanol production than lack of water. Still, ethanol producers acquiesced to do more studies on aquifer supplies to continue the construction of ethanol plants in the cities.

[Source: Associated Press via Detroit News]

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