One-Third of Global Corn Crop Faces Water Stress, Study Shows

One-third of the world’s corn is produced in “highly or extremely highly water-stressed regions,” a threat to the largest global crop, according to a statement released today by the World Resources Institute.

China, Mexico and India have the largest percentage of corn grown in such areas, while Brazil and Argentina have yet to face severe water shortages, the institute’s Francis Gassert and Andrew Maddocks wrote in an e-mailed statement. The report defines highly water-stressed areas as those in which more than 40 percent of renewable water supply is used annually by people.

Climate change probably will worsen water shortages for the crop as precipitation patterns change, the institute said.

“Any negative impacts that hit one country will likely have ripple effects globally,” the report said. “Stress in the United States and China in particular will have an outsized impact on global corn markets.”

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