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Fresh Water Sources in US



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It shows the amount of water used for various categories of water use from 1950-2000. This chart is from U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1268, "Estimated Use of Water in the United States in 2000."

 Data table of trends in water use in the United States 1950-2000.

Bar graph of data --Trends in total water withdrawals by water-use category, 1950-2000.

The  yellow bars represent water for electricity production. Electricity water use increased almost 500 percent from 1950 to 2000!

Irrigation water use increases by about 50 percent -- it takes more water to grow food for our increasing population.

Notice how after 1980 we started using more water-conservation measures.

The purple public-supply boxes continue on an uptrend. Public-supply water that's withdrawn by local county and city water departments serves our normal water uses, such as supplying industries, restaurants, and homes with water. Our ever-increasing population demands ever-increasing supplies of water.


About three-fourths of the water used in America comes from surface water. This chart is from U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1268, "Estimated Use of Water in the United States in 2000."

Trends in population and freshwater withdrawals by source, 1950-2000.

Trends in population and fresh surface-water use, 1950-2000

The majority, about 74%, of freshwater used in the United States came from surface water in 2000. The largest user of surface water is the thermoelectric-power industry, which uses it to cool electricity-generating equipment. Most of this water is returned directly to the environment, unlike in irrigation, in which much of the water is consumed.

Only the public-supply sector, which uses about 10% of fresh surface-water withdrawals, has increased continually since 1950

Since 1950, the ground-water portion of total water withdrawals in the United States has remained at about 80 percent..

Trends in population and fresh ground-water use, 1950-2000

Ground water is vitally important in supplying water for our Nation's everyday water needs, with the most significant use being for irrigation and public water supply. Since 1950, the ground-water portion of total water withdrawals in the United States has remained at about 20 percent. The vast amount of ground water used is freshwater, with a small amount of saline water going to mining uses. Ground water is used to irrigate crops and supply homes, businesses, and industries with water.

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Edited by Carolyn Allen, Managing Editor of Solutions For Green

Publication Date: 1/14/2009
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