27 March 2016

Water use in the United States

A remarkable (and counterintuitive) graph -
The US economy keeps expanding and the population keeps growing. But we actually use less water now for all purposes than we did back in 1970. That includes freshwater for our showers and toilets. It includes farm irrigation. It also includes withdrawals of both fresh and saline water to cool our fossil fuel and nuclear power plants.

The underlying data comes from a new report by the US Geological Survey, which notes that water for power plants (45 percent) and irrigation (33 percent) still made up most water withdrawals in the US as of 2010. But use in both of those areas has been declining over time.
More at Vox, including an explanation of "withdrawal" vs. "consumption."


  1. And yet... http://cdn3.chartsbin.com/chartimages/l_1455_87e40e6f6a411f85bcc5b6ba84a271da

    1. Wondering about the year of that chart's data, I searched and found another (similar) chart here -


      - where 500 cubic meters/year/person is listed as the world average (vs 500 cubic kilometers as U.S. avg in chart above). But the ecoclimax chart doesn't include power plants, mining etc.

  2. I think I understand: Around 1970 was when the dirty hippies took over and baths became optional.

  3. Maybe there is not much industry / agriculture left in US...

  4. Or maybe we're actually conserving water. Here in California, that's a big thing.


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