U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1279, 46 pages (Published July 2005)
Fresh ground-water withdrawals from 66 principal aquifers in the United States were estimated for irrigation, public-supply, and self-supplied industrial water uses for the year 2000. Total ground-water withdrawals were 76,500 million gallons per day, or 85,800 thousand acre-feet per year for these three uses. Irrigation used the largest amount of ground water, 56,900 million gallons per day, followed by public supply with 16,000 million gallons per day, and self-supplied industrial with 3,570 million gallons per day. These three water uses represented 92 percent of the fresh ground-water withdrawals for all uses in the United States, the remaining 8 percent included self-supplied domestic, aquaculture, livestock, mining, and thermoelectric power uses.
Aquifer withdrawals were categorized by five lithologic groups: unconsolidated and semiconsolidated sand and gravel aquifers, carbonate-rock aquifers, igneous and metamorphic-rock aquifers, sandstone aquifers, and sandstone and carbonate-rock aquifers. Withdrawals from aquifers that were not included in one of the 66 principal aquifers were reported in an "Other" aquifers group. The largest withdrawals in the United States were from unconsolidated and semiconsolidated sand and gravel aquifers, which accounted for 80 percent of total withdrawals from all aquifers. Carbonate-rock aquifers provided 8 percent of the withdrawals, and igneous and metamorphic-rock aquifers, 6 percent. Withdrawals from sandstone aquifers, from sandstone and carbonate-rock aquifers, and from the "Other" aquifers category each constituted about 2 percent of the total withdrawals reported.
Fifty-five percent of the total withdrawals for irrigation, public-supply, and self-supplied industrial water uses were provided by the High Plains aquifer, California Central Valley aquifer system, the Mississippi River Valley alluvial aquifer, and the Basin and Range basin-fill aquifers. These aquifers provided most of the withdrawals for irrigation. The High Plains aquifer was the most intensively used aquifer in the United States. This aquifer provided 23 percent of the total withdrawals from all aquifers for irrigation, public-supply, and self-supplied industrial water uses combined, and 30 percent of the total withdrawals from all aquifers for irrigation.
The primary aquifers used for public supply were the glacial sand and gravel aquifers of the Northeastern and North-Central States, the California Coastal Basin aquifers, the Floridan aquifer system, the Basin and Range basin-fill aquifers, and the Coastal lowlands aquifer system along the Gulf Coast. These five aquifers provided 43 percent of the total withdrawals from all aquifers for public supply. The glacial sand and gravel aquifers, Coastal lowlands aquifer system, Floridan aquifer system, and Cambrian-Ordovician aquifer system were the primary sources of water for self-supplied industrial use; these aquifers provided 46 percent of the total ground-water withdrawals for that use.
Purpose and scope
Sources of data and methods
Climatic conditions during 2000
Major lithologic groups
Water use by major lithologic group
Water use by category
Water use from selected principal aquifers
High Plains Aquifer
Central Valley Aquifer System
Mississippi River Valley Alluvial Aquifer
Basin and Range Basin-Fill Aquifers
Floridan Aquifer System
Glacial Sand and Gravel Aquifers
California Coastal Basin Aquifers
Snake River Plain Basaltic-Rock Aquifers
Coastal Lowlands Aquifer System
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Circular 1279 (12.5 MB) | Cover (51.4 MB)
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Water Use in the United States | USGS Water Resources of the United States
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