From: Editor, ENN
Published November 13, 2014 08:14 AM

Report Estimates 2010 US Water Consumption is Lowest in Decades

While it may seem that the US is one of the worst culprits when it comes to wasting resources, according to the US Geological Survey, our water consumption is improving.

Water use in the United States in 2010 was estimated to be about 355 billion gallons per day (Bgal/d), which was 13 percent less than in 2005. Better yet, 2010 marks the lowest level of water use in the US since before 1970!

Thermoelectric power and irrigation remained the two largest uses of water in 2010, and total withdrawals for both were notably less than in 2005. Withdrawals in 2010 for thermoelectric power were 20 percent less and withdrawals for irrigation were 9 percent less than in 2005. Similarly, other uses showed reductions compared to 2005, specifically public supply, self-supplied domestic, self-supplied industrial, and livestock. Only mining (39 percent) and aquaculture (7 percent) reported larger withdrawals in 2010 compared to 2005.

Withdrawals for thermoelectric power were 161 Bgal/d in 2010 and represented the lowest levels since before 1970. Thermoelectric-power withdrawals accounted for 45 percent of total withdrawals for all uses, and freshwater withdrawals for thermoelectric power accounted for 38 percent of the total freshwater withdrawals for all uses.

Irrigation withdrawals were 115 Bgal/d in 2010 and represented the lowest levels since before 1965. About 62,400 thousand acres were irrigated in 2010, an increase from 2005 of about 950 thousand acres (1.5 percent). The number of acres irrigated using sprinkler and microirrigation systems continued to increase and accounted for 58 percent of the total irrigated lands in 2010.

Public-supply withdrawals in 2010 were 42.0 Bgal/d, or 5 percent less than in 2005, and represented the first declines in public-supply withdrawals since the 5-year reporting began in 1950. Total population in the United States increased from 300.7 million people in 2005 to 313.0 million people in 2010. The number of people that received potable water from public-supply facilities in 2010 was 268 million, or about 86 percent of the total U.S. population. This percentage was unchanged from 2005.

In 2010, more than 50 percent of the total withdrawals in the United States were accounted for by 12 States. California accounted for about 11 percent of the total withdrawals and 10 percent of freshwater withdrawals in the United States, predominantly for irrigation. Texas accounted for about 7 percent of total withdrawals, predominantly for thermoelectric power, irrigation, and public supply. Florida accounted for 18 percent of the total saline-water withdrawals in the United States, mostly from surface-water sources for thermoelectric power. Oklahoma and Texas accounted for about 70 percent of the total saline groundwater withdrawals in the United States, mostly for mining.

Read more at USGS.

Read the study: Estimated Use of Water in the United States in 2010.

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