Chapter 6: Section 9 - Using and Conserving Water

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In this section you will find materials that support the implementation of EarthComm, Section 9: Using and Conserving Water.

Learning Outcomes

  • Plan and carry out an investigation of the fresh water used by your school every day.
  • Analyze and interpret data on water use to explain differences in per-person water use between your county and an adjacent county.
  • Obtain information about water use and methods of water conservation.


To gather data on the water use in your county and for nearby counties, visit the following websites:

Water Use Data Available from the USGS, USGS
Select the latest publication data for counties option.  Go to the "Data Release" section of the page and select the option for accessing county-level data.  Select the "All Data" file link.  This will load water use data in a spreadsheet format.  Identify the "Data Dictionary" tab first, as it explains the codes used for each data category. Next, locate your state and selected counties on the data tab.   

Inquiring Further

  1. To learn more about water use in the home, visit the following web sites:

    Water Consumption Calculator, CSGNetwork.COM
    Provides a worksheet for calculating home water use.

    Indoor Water Use in the United States, EPA
    Pie chart outlines the percentages of water that are used by different activities in the home.

    Ground Water and Drinking Water, EPA
    Reviews ground water and drinking water usage.


To learn more about this topic, visit the following web sites:

Types of Water Use

How Do We Use Water?, EPA
Reviews how water is used in the United States, including agricultural, industrial, and household usage.

Summary of Estimated Use of Water in the United States, USGS
Examines water withdrawal in the United States.

Water on Tap: What You Need to Know, EPA
Provides information on a variety of topics related to drinking water, including the quality of drinking water in the U.S., where water comes from, how much drinking water is used in the typical home, the future of water resources in the U.S., and steps that can be taken to protect the nation's drinking water.

WaterSense, EPA
Reviews water use in the United States, including overall national trends and use by category (municipal/public supply, domestic and commercial, industrial and mining, agricultural, and thermoelectric power).

Consumptive Use and Nonconsumptive Use

Water Use in the United States, USGS
Water use data for the United States.

Water Conservation

What You Can Do to Protect Source Water, EPA
Provides programs that protect the nation's water supply and suggestions for communities that wish to get involved in water conservation and protection.

WaterSense, EPA
Discusses water conservation practices for residential, industrial/commercial, and agricultural users. Addresses conservation issues and costs associated with dealing with these issues.

Citizen's Guide to Groundwater Protection, EPA
Provides information and suggestions for ways that the community can become involved in the protection of groundwater sources.