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Summary of estimated water use in the United States in 2015

June 19, 2018

A total of 322 Bgal/d of water withdrawals was reported for eight categories of use in the United States in 2015, which was 9 percent less than in 2010 (354 Bgal/d), and continued a declining trend since 2005. The decline in total withdrawals in 2015 primarily was caused by significant decreases (28.8 Bgal/d) in thermoelectric power, which accounted for 89 percent of the decrease in total withdrawals. Between 2010 and 2015, withdrawals decreased in all categories except irrigation (2 percent increase), mining (1 percent increase), and livestock (no change). Fresh surface-water withdrawals (198 Bgal/d) were 14 percent less than in 2010, and fresh groundwater withdrawals (82.3 Bgal/d) were about 8 percent more than in 2010. Saline surface-water withdrawals (38.6 Bgal/d) were 14 percent less than in 2010, and saline groundwater withdrawals (2.34 Bgal/d) were 5 percent more than in 2010. Total population in the United States in 2015 (325 million) increased by 4 percent (12.4 million) from 2010, which was similar to the increase between 2005 and 2010. For the first time since 1995, consumptive use for irrigation and thermoelectric power were reported. Consumptive use accounted for 62 percent (73.2 Bgal/d) of water used for irrigation, and 3 percent (4.31 Bgal/d) of water used for thermoelectric power in 2015.

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