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Water Scientists Worry About Biofuel Side Effects

Water resources are strained on many parts of the planet, water experts say, and growing biofuel demand could exacerbate the problem.

At an international meeting on the world's water supply this week, experts warned that growing biofuel production could further stress already strained water resources.

Many of the experts at World Water Week, a week-long meeting in Stockholm, say policy makers should prioritize food over fuel. "You can live with less energy but not with less food," Suhas Wani, an Indian scientist, says.

With the world's population expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, the International Water Management Institute projects the water needed for food production will grow by up to 90% by then, unless water is used more efficiently.

However, others say surging demand for biofuels is actually helping poor agricultural countries by boosting the prices of farm goods.

"Decades of declining agricultural prices have been reversed thanks to the growing use of biofuels," say sChristopher Flavin, head of the Worldwatch Institute, a Washington-based environmental research agency, in a statement.

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