years of water use information, 1950-2000

U.S. Geological Survey

Estimated Use of Water in the United States—1950

By Kenneth A. MacKichan

USGS Circular 115, 13 pages, 6 figures, 1 table (Published May 1951)


An estimated 170,000 million gallons of water was withdrawn from the ground, lakes, or
streams each day on the average during 1950 and used on the farms and in the homes,
factories, and business establishments of the United States. An additional 1,100,000
million gallons per day was used to generate hydro-power. Water power is the largest
user of water; however, irrigation and industry also are large users of both ground and
surface water. More surface water was used for industrial purposes than for irrigation,
whereas more ground water was used for irrigation than for industrial purposes (fig. 1).
The total withdrawal of surface water was considerably in excess of ground-water
withdrawal, as shown by figure 1. Large quantities of water were used also for purposes
requiring no diversion, such as navigation, waste disposal, recreation, and support of
wildlife. (continues...)



Types of use

Withdrawal uses

Municipal uses

Rural domestic and stock use

Irrigation use

Industrial use from private sources

Water power

Nonwithdrawal uses


Waste disposal


Fish and wildlife


References cited


This report is out of print. You can read the full text of the report by following the links above.

Water Use in the United States | USGS Water Resources of the United States

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