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The U.S. Geological Survey has compiled the Nation's water-use data at the county, State, and national levels every 5 years between 1950 and 2015. The most recent estimated water-use compilation was completed in 2015. A summary for Rhode Island is presented on this web page.
Comprehensive water-use data analysis is needed to quantify the stress on existing supplies, particularly during periods when there is increased competition for water (drought).
- USGS water-use compilations are one of the few sources of information about national and regional trends in water withdrawals.
- The New England Water Science Center (WSC) collected, reviewed, and aggregated water withdrawal data in Rhode Island from different sources (groundwater and surface water in both fresh and saline settings) as a part of the national effort.
- Our WSC collected site-specific and aggregated water-use information for each county in Rhode Island.
- The New England WSC complied and estimated water use at the county level for eight water-use categories: thermoelectric, public supply, domestic, livestock, mining, industrial, irrigation, aquaculture.
Rhode Island is fortunate to have abundant freshwater resources.
Annual precipitation averages in Rhode Island place the State in the top half of the wettest States in the United States.
However, as populations have grown (5.1 percent between 1990 and 2015), freshwater resources have come under significant stress in many areas, particularly during periods of drought.
Below are links to the USGS national water-use website and water-use web pages for the New England states.
Below are the charts and animations displayed on the Rhode Island water-use web page.
Below are selected publications associated with the Water Use in Rhode Island.
For regional and national publications go to the Publications tab of the New England Water Use webpage.
Below are links to access water use data:
- for the United States on the ScienceBase
- for Rhode Island on the National Water Information System (NWIS) web interface.
The link provides access to the 5-year water-use compilations (between 1985 and 2015) data for Rhode Island on the National Water Information System (NWIS) web interface.
The presented data were compiled and published by the USGS's National Water Use Information Program (NWUIP).
Below are FAQ related to water use.
In the U.S., about 13 percent of all water used is saline water. But saline water can only be used for certain purposes. The main use is for thermoelectric power-plant cooling. About 5 percent of water used for industrial purposes is saline, and about 53 percent of all water used for mining purposes is saline.Saline water can be desalinated for use as drinking water by putting it through a process...
Earth is estimated to hold about 1,460,000,000 cubic kilometers of water. The breakdown of where all that water resides is estimated as follows:Oceans (saline) 1,419,120,000 cubic kilometersIce caps and glaciers (fresh) 31,244,000 cubic kilometersGroundwater (fresh and saline) 8,906,000 cubic kilometersStreams and lakes (fresh) 132,860 cubic kilometersLakes (saline) 116,800 cubic kilometersOther-...
Since 1950, the USGS has collected and analyzed water-use data for the United States and its Territories. That data is revised every 5 years.As of 2015, the United States uses 322 billion gallons of water per day (Bgal/day). The three largest water-use categories were irrigation (118 Bgal/day), thermoelectric power (133 Bgal/day), and public supply (39 Bgal/day), cumulatively accounting for 90...
The water cycle, also known as the hydrologic cycle, describes the continuous movement of water as it makes a circuit from the oceans to the atmosphere to the Earth and on again.Most of Earth's water is in the oceans. The sun, which drives the water cycle, heats water in the oceans. Some of it evaporates as vapor into the air. Rising vapor cools and condenses into clouds. Cloud particles grow and...
Below are partners associated with this project.