Water Q&A: Which states use the most water?

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Find out which states use the most water and what they use it for.

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Which states use the most water?

Water Questions and Answers

More than one-fourth of the total water used in the United States in 2015 was withdrawn in California, Texas, Idaho, and Florida. California accounted for 9 percent of all withdrawals in the United States in 2015. Nearly three-fourths of the freshwater withdrawn in California was for irrigation, and 98 percent of saline water withdrawn was for thermoelectric-power generation.

In 2015, more than 50 percent of the total withdrawals in the United States were accounted for by 12 States: California, Texas, Idaho, Florida, Arkansas, New York, Illinois, Colorado, North Carolina, Michigan, Montana, and Nebraska. 

The chart below shows the distribution of total (fresh plus saline) water withdrawals, by state, in 2015. 


Bar chart showing total water use and water use by category, by state, 2015.

Credit: USGS, Public domain