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The water in the Nation's rivers, lakes, reservoirs, and underground aquifers are vitally important to our everyday life. These water bodies supply the water to serve the needs of every human and for the world's ecological systems, too. Here in the United States, every 5 years the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) compiles county, state, and National water withdrawal and use data for a number of water-use categories.
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Water use in the United States in 2015 was estimated to be about 322 billion gallons per day (Bgal/d), which was 9 percent less than in 2010. The 2015 estimates put total withdrawals at the lowest level since before 1970, following the same overall trend of decreasing total withdrawals observed from 2005 to 2010. Freshwater withdrawals were 281 Bgal/d, or 87 percent of total withdrawals, and saline-water withdrawals were 41.0 Bgal/d, or 13 percent of total withdrawals. Fresh surface-water withdrawals (198 Bgal/d) were 14 percent less than in 2010, and fresh groundwater withdrawals (82.3 Bgal/day) were about 8 percent greater than in 2010. Saline surface-water withdrawals were 38.6 Bgal/d, or 14 percent less than in 2010. Total saline groundwater withdrawals in 2015 were 2.34 Bgal/d, mostly for mining use.
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). California accounted for almost 9 percent of the total withdrawals and 9 percent of freshwater withdrawals in the United States, predominantly for irrigation. Texas accounted for almost 7 percent of total withdrawals, predominantly for thermoelectric power, irrigation, and public supply. Florida accounted for 23 percent of the total saline-water withdrawals in the United States, mostly from surface-water sources for thermoelectric power. Texas and California accounted for 59 percent of the total saline groundwater withdrawals in the United States, mostly for mining.
Total water withdrawals for the United States, 1950-2015. (Data are in billion gallons per day (Bgal/d))
Data may not sum to totals because numbers are rounded.
Data for freshwater withdrawals for 1980-2005 have been revised from original published values.
Source: Estimated Water Use in the United States in 2015
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