Drought-related Impacts on Municipal and Major Self-supplied Industrial Water Withdrawals in Tennessee -- Part B

U.S. Geological Survey, Water-Resources Investigations Report 84-4074

by Frank M. Alexander, Lee A. Keck, Lewis G. Conn, and Stanley J. Wentz

This report is available as a pdf below


The Tennessee Division of Water Management conducted a water use survey of all public community water facilities and large, self-supplied commercial and industrial water users during 1982. During 1981, 463 public community water facilities supplied water to approximately 3,814,000 people or 83 percent of the 1980 population of Tennessee. Total water supplied was 566.1 million gallons per day of which 346.8 million gallons per day or 61 percent was from surface-water sources and 219.3 million gallons per day or 39 percent was from ground water. Ground water was used for public supply statewide, however, it was the sole source of public supply west of the Tennessee River basin. Of the 219.3 million gallons per day used statewide, 164.0 million gallons per day or 75 percent was used in West Tennessee.

Statewide 129 companies indicated a self-supplied water use of 0.1 million gallons per day or more. Four of these companies were in the Cumberland River basin, 40 in West Tennessee, and 85 in the Tennessee River basin. The total self-supplied water used by these companies was 1,106.7 million gallons per day of which 1,006 .8 million gallons per day or 91 percent was surface water while 99.9 million gallons per day or 9 percent was ground water. The largest self-supplied user had an average demand of 454.3 million gallons per day.

Analysis of the study results and findings indicates that many communities in Tennessee do experience occasional water-supply, quantity-related shortages. Some type of problem was reported at 107 of the public water suppliers and 23 of the self-supplied commercial and industrial water users. Altogether, 172 problems were reported which could be grouped into 18 types. Occasional turbidity, inadequate storage capacity, inadequate water supply during droughts, and excessive water losses due to leaks in distribution lines accounted for 110 or 64 percent of the problems reported. Twenty five or 15 percent of the problems reported were related to water shortage. Only two large, self-supplied industries reported experiencing water shortages during periods of droughts. Both were located in the Tennessee River basin. No problems were reported by industry in the West Tennessee area or in the Cumberland River basin.

Study results also indicate that the large self-supplied commercial and industrial users in the State are generally quite knowledgeable about their water-supply needs and tend to locate in those areas which have sufficient water resources to meet their needs. It should also be noted there are many self-supplied industries which withdraw less than 100,000 gallons per day; however, in terms of total water withdrawals and employment, those industries whose use exceeds 100,000 gallons per day are generally assumed to be greater than those using less than 100,000 gallons per day .

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