Water Withdrawals, Uses, and Trends in Florida, 2015

Scientific Investigations Report 2019-5147
Prepared in cooperation with the Florida Department of Agricultural and Consumer Services



In 2015, the total amount of water withdrawn in Florida was estimated to be 15,319 million gallons per day (Mgal/d). Saline water accounted for 9,598 Mgal/d (63 percent) and freshwater accounted for 5,721 Mgal/d (37 percent) of the total. Groundwater accounted for 3,604 Mgal/d (63 percent) of freshwater withdrawals and surface water accounted for the remaining 2,117 Mgal/d (37 percent). Surface-water sources accounted for 9,401 Mgal/d (98 percent) of the saline-water withdrawals, and groundwater sources accounted for the remaining 198 Mgal/d (2 percent). The majority of groundwater withdrawals (almost 62 percent) in 2015 were from the Floridan aquifer system, which is used throughout most of the State while the majority of fresh surface-water withdrawals (52 percent) occurred in the Southern Florida Subregion, a hydrologic unit that includes Lake Okeechobee and canals in the Everglades Agricultural Area. Groundwater provided drinking water (public supplied and self-supplied) for 18.324 million people (92 percent of Florida’s population), and fresh surface water provided drinking water for 1.491 million people (8 percent).

Overall, public supply accounted for 39 percent of the total freshwater withdrawals (ground and surface) and 53 percent of groundwater withdrawals, followed by agricultural self-supplied uses, which accounted for 37 percent of the total freshwater withdrawals and 28 percent of groundwater withdrawals. Other self-supplied groundwater withdrawals include commercial-industrial-mining self-supplied (8 percent), recreational-landscape irrigation and domestic self-supplied (5 percent each), and power generation (less than 1 percent). Agricultural self-supplied withdrawals accounted for 51 percent of fresh surface-water withdrawals, followed by power generation (19 percent), public supply (15 percent), recreational-landscape irrigation (10 percent), and commercial-industrial-mining self-supplied (5 percent).

In 1975, agricultural water withdrawals accounted for 43 percent of the total freshwater withdrawals, followed by power generation (24 percent) and public supply (17 percent). By 2000, agricultural withdrawals increased to 48 percent of the total freshwater withdrawals, followed by public supply (30 percent). For 2015, agricultural self-supplied decreased to 37 percent of total freshwater withdrawals, and was surpassed by public supply at 39 percent. Over the 40-year period between 1975 and 2015, increases in freshwater withdrawals caused by large gains in population and the expansion of irrigated acreage were offset by decreases in water used for power generation and commercial-industrial-mining withdrawals. Since 2000, however, irrigated acreage has decreased statewide because of crop disease, storm damage, and urbanization. This decline, coupled with large gains in water conservation measures in the farming industry, has led to agricultural withdrawals in Florida being less than public-supply withdrawals for the first time since water-use data were first reported in 1965.

Suggested Citation

Marella, R.L., 2020, Water withdrawals, uses, and trends in Florida, 2015: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2019–5147, 52 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20195147.

ISSN: 2328-0328 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Water Withdrawals and Use
  • Water Withdrawal and Use Trends for Florida, 1950–2010
  • Summary
  • References Cited
  • Glossary
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Water withdrawals, uses, and trends in Florida, 2015
Series title Scientific Investigations Report
Series number 2019-5147
DOI 10.3133/sir20195147
Year Published 2020
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Caribbean-Florida Water Science Center
Description Report: vii, 52 p.; Data Release
Country United States
State Florida
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details