New Hampshire Water Use

Science Center Objects

Background: The U.S. Geological Survey has compiled the nation's water-use data in New Hampshire and the rest of the United States 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 New Hampshire is presented on this webpage.

The Issue: Comprehensive water-use data analysis is needed to quantify the stress on existing supplies, particullary during periods  of drought.

Approach:

- 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 New Hampshire 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 New Hampshire. 

- 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

New Hampshire is fortunate to have abundant freshwater resources.

Annual precipitation averages in New Hampshire place the state in the top half of the wettest states in the US.

However, as populations have grown (20.1 % between 1990 and 2015), freshwater resources have come under significant stress in many areas, particularly during periods of drought.

New Hampshire population trends, 1990 - 2015

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

New Hampshire water withdrawal trends, 1990 - 2015

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

Summary of 2015 Compilation 

Core numbers for New Hampshire are presented in the Results tab.

 

 

How Much Water is Used in New Hampshire?

In 2015, approximately 935 million gallons per day (Mgal/d) of water was withdrawn from groundwater and surface-water sources in Massachusetts. Total water withdrawals between 1990 and 2015 are on steady decline (-29%).

  • Surface water withdrawals totaled  855 Mgal/d (91 percent of total) 
  • Groundwater withdrawals totaled 80 Mgal/d (9 percent of total)
  • Fresh water withdrawals were 242 Mgal/d (26 percent of total)
  • Saline water withdrawals were 693 Mgal/d (74 percent of total)

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

  • Thermoelectric—768
  • Public Supply—95
  • Domestic—30
  • Aquaculture—17
  • Industrial—13
  • Mining—6
  • Irrigation—5
  • Livestock—1
New Hampshire Total Water Use by category in 2015

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

Animation of 2015 New Hampshire water use by category

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

New Hampshire Public Water Supply Withdrawals in 2015 by County

NH CountyGroundwater (Mgal/d)Surface Water (Mgal/d)Total (Mgal/d)
Belknap1.351.773.12
Carroll2.760.693.45
Cheshire2.491.634.12
Coos1.532.674.2
Grafton2.824.757.57
Hillsborough6.9331.8138.74
Merrimack3.534.738.26
Rockingham9.35615.35
Strafford3.744.268
Sullivan0.921.792.71
Total35.4260.195.52