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Open-File Report 2009–1168

Prepared in cooperation with the
New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services

Methods for Estimating Withdrawal and Return Flow by Census Block for 2005 and 2020 for New Hampshire

By Laura Hayes and Marilee A. Horn


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The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, estimated the amount of water demand, consumptive use, withdrawal, and return flow for each U.S. Census block in New Hampshire for the years 2005 (current) and 2020. Estimates of domestic, commercial, industrial, irrigation, and other nondomestic water use were derived through the use and innovative integration of several State and Federal databases, and by use of previously developed techniques.

The New Hampshire Water Demand database was created as part of this study to store and integrate State of New Hampshire data central to the project. Within the New Hampshire Water Demand database, a lookup table was created to link the State databases and identify water users common to more than one database. The lookup table also allowed identification of withdrawal and return-flow locations of registered and unregistered commercial, industrial, agricultural, and other nondomestic users. Geographic information system data from the State were used in combination with U.S. Census Bureau spatial data to locate and quantify withdrawals and return flow for domestic users in each census block.

Analyzing and processing the most recently available data resulted in census-block estimations of 2005 water use. Applying population projections developed by the State to the data sets enabled projection of water use for the year 2020. The results for each census block are stored in the New Hampshire Water Demand database and may be aggregated to larger political areas or watersheds to assess relative hydrologic stress on the basis of current and potential water availability.

First posted December 2009

For additional information contact:
U.S. Geological Survey
New Hampshire-Vermont Water Science Center
361 Commerce Way
Pembroke, NH 03275

Part or all of this report is presented in Portable Document Format (PDF); the latest version of Adobe Reader or similar software is required to view it. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader, free of charge.

Suggested citation:

Hayes, Laura, and Horn, M.A., 2009, Methods for estimating withdrawal and return flow by census block for 2005 and 2020 for New Hampshire: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2009–1168, 32 p., available at




Purpose and Scope

Water-Use Concepts

Methods for Estimating Water Use

Identifying Water Users

WATUSE Database

Drinking Water Database

NPDES Databases

Census Database

Population Estimates Database

The New Hampshire Water Demand Database

Identifying the Source of Water and the Destination of Wastewater by Census Block

Water Distribution and Sewer Collection Areas GIS Data Set

Census GIS Data Set

GIS Processing

Growth Rate Calculations

Manual Adjustments to GIS Script Output

Quality Assurance

Estimation of Water Use by Census Block


2005 Registered Use

2005 Unregistered Use

Domestic Water Withdrawal and Return Flow

Non-Domestic Water Withdrawal and Return Flow

2020 Projections


References Cited


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