50 years of water use information, 1950-2000

Estimated Use of Water in the United States in 2000

This section has been revised since its initial release.

Public Supply

bar graph of water use by category with this category highlighted

Public supply refers to water withdrawn by public and private water suppliers that furnish water to at least 25 people or have a minimum of 15 connections. Public-supply water may be delivered to users for domestic, commercial, industrial, or thermoelectric-power purposes. Some public-supply water may be delivered to other public suppliers or used in the processes of water and wastewater treatment. Public-supply water is used for such public services (public uses) as pools, parks, and public buildings; or be unaccounted for (losses) because of system leaks or such nonmetered services as firefighting or the flushing of water lines. Some public suppliers treat saline water before it is distributed. However, all public-supply withdrawals in this report are considered freshwater. Estimates for water deliveries, public use, and losses were not reported for 2000 for public supply.

Public-supply withdrawals and population are listed by State in table 5. Go to Table 5 For 2000, withdrawals were an estimated 43,300 Mgal/d, or 48,500 thousand acre-feet per year. Public-supply withdrawals were about 13 percent of total freshwater withdrawals and nearly 21 percent of total freshwater withdrawals for all categories excluding thermoelectric power. About 242 million people depended on water from public suppliers. The majority of the water for public supply (63 percent) was withdrawn from surface sources. Between 1995 and 2000, public-supply withdrawals and the population served increased 8 percent. The population served as a percentage of the total U.S. population was about 85 percent in 2000.

The geographic distribution of total, surface-water, and ground-water withdrawals for public supply is shown in figure 5. Reduced version of Figure 5--click for 
larger image States with the largest populations withdrew the largest quantities of water. California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Illinois accounted for 40 percent of total public-supply withdrawals and 38 percent of the total population served by public suppliers. The largest surface-water withdrawals were in California and Texas, and the largest ground-water withdrawals were in California and Florida.

The source of data used for estimating public-supply water withdrawals by source of supply and population served varied by State. Public suppliers; State health, environmental, or water-permitting agencies; and the USEPA SDWIS database were the primary sources of information.

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

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