Science Center Objects

Background: The U.S. Geological Survey has compiled the Nation's water-use data at the county, State, and national levels every 5 years since 1950. The most recent estimated water-use compilation was completed in 2015. A summary for Maine is presented on this web page.

The Issue: Comprehensive water-use data analysis is needed to quantify the stress on existing supplies, particularly during periods when there is increased competition for water (for example, periods of 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) collects, reviews, and aggregates water withdrawal data in Maine from different sources (groundwater and surface water in both fresh and saline settings) as a part of the national effort.

- Our WSC collects site-specific and aggregated water-use information for each county in Maine. 

- The New England WSC complies and estimates water use at the county level for eight water-use categories: thermoelectric, public supply, domestic, livestock, mining, industrial, irrigation, and aquaculture.

Water Issues

Maine is fortunate to have abundant freshwater resources.

Annual precipitation averages in Maine place the State in the top half of the wettest States in the United States.

However, as populations have grown (7.9 percent between 1990 and 2015), freshwater resources have come under significant stress in many areas, particularly during periods of drought.

    Maine population trends, 1990 - 2015

    A graph showing Maine population trends between 1985 and 2015. (Public domain)

    Maine water withdrawal trends, 1990 - 2015

    A graph showing Maine water withdrawal trends between 1990 and 2015. (Public domain)

    Summary of 2015 Compilation 

    Core numbers for Maine are presented in the Results tab.


    How Much Water is Used in Maine?

    In 2015, approximately 509 million gallons per day (Mgal/d) of water was withdrawn from groundwater and surface-water sources in Maine. Total water withdrawals between 1990 and 2015 are on steady decline (-55 percent).

    • Surface water withdrawals totaled  424 Mgal/d (83 % of total) 
    • Groundwater withdrawals totaled 85 Mgal/d (17 % of total)
    • Freshwater withdrawals were 385 Mgal/d (76 %  of total)
    • Saline water withdrawals were 124 Mgal/d (24 % of total)

    Maine Total Water Withdrawals in 2015 by Category (Values in Mgal/day)

    • Industrial—225
    • Thermoelectric—86
    • Public Supply—85
    • Aquaculture—54
    • Domestic—32
    • Irrigation—19
    • Mining—6
    • Livestock—2
    Maine Total Water Use by category in 2015

    Maine total water use by category in 2015. (Public domain)

    Animation of 2015 Maine water use by category

    Animation of 2015 Maine water use by category, captured from the visualization of 2015 United States water use by category, by the USGS Vizlab. (Public domain)

    Maine Public Water Supply Withdrawals in 2015 by County

    ME CountyGroundwater (Mgal/d)Surface Water (Mgal/d)Total (Mgal/d)
    Waldo0.99 0.99