How much water is used by people in the United States?

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An irrigation canal in Montana. Image Copyright © Marli Miller, University of Oregon.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) reports analyzed water-use data for the United States every 5 years.

In 2015, domestic water use totaled 26,560 million gallons per day (Mgal/d), of which 88% was publicly supplied and 12% self-supplied.1 The total amount of water withdrawn in the United States in 2015 for all categories was 322,000 Mgal/d.1 Domestic water use therefore accounted for 8% of total U.S. water withdrawals in 2015.


1 Estimated Use of Water in the United States in 2015 U.S. Geological Survey

Learn More:

  • Summary of Estimated Water Use in the United States in 2015 (Fact Sheet), U.S. Geological Survey
    General summary of water use by state and sector with easy-to-read graphics.
  • Water Use in the United States (Website), U.S. Geological Survey
    Website of the USGS Water Use Program, which has cataloged analyzed water-use data since 1950. The program produces a summary of estimated water use in the United States approximately every five years. The site also includes specific information on water use for public supply, domestic use, irrigation, thermoelectric power, industrial use, mining, livestock, and aquaculture. 
  • State Water Facts (Website), Environmental Protection Agency
    Website from EPA's WaterSense water efficiency program, with fact sheets for several states.
  • Desalination as a Source of Fresh Water (Webinar), American Geosciences Institute
    Webinar on the use and desalination of salty water (to provide fresh water) in the United States and further afield.