Changes in Water-Use Categories

Science Center Objects

Water-use terminology in the series of USGS water-use circulars, first published for the year 1950, has changed over time as illustrated here. Some categories were re-named but retained essentially the same definition, while other changes split existing categories or shifted components of one category to another. See the entries for these terms in the water-use terminology page for other details.


Public Supply  •  Domestic  •  Irrigation  •  Thermoelectric Power  •  Industrial  •  Mining  •  Livestock  •  Aquaculture


Water use categories

Download a PDF of this table here.

Rural estimates for 1950 and 1955 were allocated to Rural Domestic and Livestock in later reports.

The focus of most of these Circulars are water withdrawals from surface-water and groundwater sources. From 1960 to 1995 consumptive use was also estimated. Consumptive use for Irrigation and Thermoelectric Power was estimated for 2015. Ancillary data such as population served by public supply, power generated, and irrigated acres has also been included in many of the reports.