Over the last 50 years, the progress made in corn productivity has been absolutely amazing, far greater than for any other plant. Today, the yield potential of each variety is not even comparable to that obtained 20 years ago, mainly because of genetical progress (Barrière, 2001). Over the same period of time, water efficiency has not been increased. Consequently, productivity improvements have led to higher water requirements (around 50% more according to different research papers).
In arid areas, temperature and sunshine conditions could allow the production of varieties with very high yield potential (late maturity - for grain production); but the necessary water resources may not be available or have proven too expensive and the potential yield may never be reached. The choice of a variety then relies on a balance between water requirements (related to yield potential) and water availability.