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Idaho water use, 2015

July 18, 2018

The ability to quantify water resources hinges on the understanding of water use by the population. The demand humans place on the water cycle varies across the United States, driven by both need and availability. The U.S. Geological Survey quantifies water use nationally, at the county scale, with estimates of water withdrawals and deliveries, by category of use (for example, irrigation, thermoelectric power, industrial, public supply, including domestic deliveries and self-supply domestic, livestock, mining, and aquaculture) and source (fresh and saline groundwater or surface water) every 5 years. Estimates of water use are an important component of the water budget to help manage water supplies and plan for the future. Understanding water use in Idaho is important not only at the local (county) and State scales, but also at the National level because Idaho ranked third in the Nation for total water use in 2015.

This fact sheet describes calendar year 2015 freshwater withdrawals by source and by each Idaho county. An associated data release provides the data discussed herein. Freshwater withdrawals totaled 17,737 million gallons per day during 2015. Surface water accounted for 70 percent of total withdrawals for all categories of use, mostly for irrigation of crops and aquaculture production. Withdrawals for mining activities were mostly from surface water, whereas the remaining categories of use—public supply, domestic, industrial, livestock, irrigation of golf courses, and thermoelectric power—relied largely on groundwater withdrawals. Most withdrawals occurred in southern Idaho counties to support irrigated agriculture.  

Publication Year 2018
Title Idaho water use, 2015
DOI 10.3133/fs20183036
Authors Erin M. Murray
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Fact Sheet
Series Number 2018-3036
Index ID fs20183036
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Idaho Water Science Center