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Documentation of methods and inventory of irrigation information collected for the 2015 U.S. Geological Survey estimated use of water in the United States

February 17, 2021

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Water-Use Science Project strives to report water-use estimates using the best available information for the period of the estimates. The information available on water used for irrigation activities varies from State to State and in some areas from county to county within a State, which results in many information sources and methods being used to estimate water withdrawals and consumption for the Nation. The variety of estimation methods makes it difficult to compare information across States and makes it difficult to understand how different methods or data sources bias irrigation water-use estimates and trends over time. The sources of information and methods used by USGS Water Science Centers to estimate irrigation water use (the number of irrigated acres by irrigation system type, withdrawal values by water source type, and consumed-water values) for 2015 are compiled and described herein to assist with interpreting the water-use estimates. State-level summaries of information sources and methods are compiled in appendix 1, and a dataset of calendar-year, county-level estimates of actual evapotranspiration for the conterminous United States and Hawaii is provided in an associated USGS data release.