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States using the most water

  • States using the most water

    Water is easily our most precious resource. It makes up at least 60% of human body composition and without it, humanity could not exist. Most people would die within three or four days without water; but in addition to its key role in our own survival, water is essential in nearly every facet of modern life from industrial processes like farming to domestic pursuits like washing the dishes. 

    Because water is ubiquitous, most people don’t take the time to consider the amount of it they use. One person uses on average 80 to 100 gallons per day—consumption levels that add up very quickly when you zoom out. Considering that more than 8 million people live in the 302 square miles comprising New York City alone, it’s no wonder New York state ranks high on the list of water consumption.

    Factoring in commercial water consumption is even more eye-opening. Nearly every industry uses H2O, sending water consumption figures through the roof. Total water consumption in America in 2010 topped out at more than 300 billion gallons per day.

    Utilizing data from the United States Geological Survey (USGS), Stacker took a deep dive into the numbers to determine just how much water each state uses The USGS' report, which estimates water use in 2015, was released June 19, 2018. The following gallery looks at how each state uses water, with all 50 states and Washington D.C. ranked from low to high by the total amount of water withdrawals in 2015. Withdrawals are then broken down by type of water (fresh or saline) and withdrawal type (groundwater and surface water). The amount of withdrawals for water-use categories is also listed. All numbers are measured in million gallons per day (Mgal/d). 

    Read on to see just how much water your state uses—and how.

     

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  • #50. Vermont

    Total withdrawals: 91 million gallons per day (Mgal/d)
    - Fresh water withdrawals: 91 Mgal/d
    - Saline water withdrawals: 0 Mgal/d
    - Surface water withdrawals: 54 Mgal/d
    - Groundwater withdrawals: 37 Mgal/d

    Total domestic water use: 28 Mgal/d (44 gal per capita, #2 lowest for all states)
    - Public supply: 43 Mgal/d (43 gal per capita, #2 lowest for all states)
    --- 382,000 people served (61% of population)
    - Self-supplied: 11 Mgal/d (45 gal per capita, #3 lowest for all states)
    --- 244,000 people served (39% of population)

    Non-public total water use: 37 Mgal/d
    - Irrigation: 3 Mgal/d
    - Livestock: 6 Mgal/d
    - Aquaculture: 12 Mgal/d
    - Industrial: 11 Mgal/d (fresh), 0 Mgal/d (saline)
    - Mining: 5 Mgal/d (fresh), 0 Mgal/d (saline)
    - Thermoelectric power: 0.80 Mgal/d (fresh), 0 Mgal/d (saline)

  • #49. Rhode Island

    Total withdrawals: 343 million gallons per day (Mgal/d)
    - Fresh water withdrawals: 122 Mgal/d
    - Saline water withdrawals: 222 Mgal/d
    - Surface water withdrawals: 311 Mgal/d
    - Groundwater withdrawals: 33 Mgal/d

    Total domestic water use: 63 Mgal/d (59 gal per capita, #9 lowest for all states)
    - Public supply: 98 Mgal/d (59 gal per capita, #9 lowest for all states)
    --- 943,000 people served (89% of population)
    - Self-supplied: 7 Mgal/d (58 gal per capita, #8 lowest for all states)
    --- 113,000 people served (11% of population)

    Non-public total water use: 240 Mgal/d
    - Irrigation: 4 Mgal/d
    - Livestock: 0.12 Mgal/d
    - Aquaculture: 7 Mgal/d
    - Industrial: 2 Mgal/d (fresh), 0.03 Mgal/d (saline)
    - Mining: 3 Mgal/d (fresh), 0 Mgal/d (saline)
    - Thermoelectric power: 1 Mgal/d (fresh), 222 Mgal/d (saline)

  • #48. South Dakota

    Total withdrawals: 400 million gallons per day (Mgal/d)
    - Fresh water withdrawals: 400 Mgal/d
    - Saline water withdrawals: 0 Mgal/d
    - Surface water withdrawals: 162 Mgal/d
    - Groundwater withdrawals: 238 Mgal/d

    Total domestic water use: 49 Mgal/d (56 gal per capita, #5 lowest for all states)
    - Public supply: 72 Mgal/d (58 gal per capita, #7 lowest for all states)
    --- 752,000 people served (85% of population)
    - Self-supplied: 6 Mgal/d (43 gal per capita, #2 lowest for all states)
    --- 129,000 people served (15% of population)

    Non-public total water use: 323 Mgal/d
    - Irrigation: 211 Mgal/d
    - Livestock: 48 Mgal/d
    - Aquaculture: 29 Mgal/d
    - Industrial: 24 Mgal/d (fresh), 0 Mgal/d (saline)
    - Mining: 9 Mgal/d (fresh), 0 Mgal/d (saline)
    - Thermoelectric power: 2 Mgal/d (fresh), 0 Mgal/d (saline)

  • #47. Maine

    Total withdrawals: 509 million gallons per day (Mgal/d)
    - Fresh water withdrawals: 385 Mgal/d
    - Saline water withdrawals: 124 Mgal/d
    - Surface water withdrawals: 424 Mgal/d
    - Groundwater withdrawals: 85 Mgal/d

    Total domestic water use: 67 Mgal/d (51 gal per capita, #3 lowest for all states)
    - Public supply: 85 Mgal/d (53 gal per capita, #3 lowest for all states)
    --- 669,000 people served (50% of population)
    - Self-supplied: 32 Mgal/d (48 gal per capita, #4 lowest for all states)
    --- 660,000 people served (50% of population)

    Non-public total water use: 392 Mgal/d
    - Irrigation: 19 Mgal/d
    - Livestock: 2 Mgal/d
    - Aquaculture: 54 Mgal/d
    - Industrial: 182 Mgal/d (fresh), 43 Mgal/d (saline)
    - Mining: 6 Mgal/d (fresh), 0 Mgal/d (saline)
    - Thermoelectric power: 5 Mgal/d (fresh), 81 Mgal/d (saline)

  • #46. Alaska

    Total withdrawals: 766 million gallons per day (Mgal/d)
    - Fresh water withdrawals: 633 Mgal/d
    - Saline water withdrawals: 132 Mgal/d
    - Surface water withdrawals: 451 Mgal/d
    - Groundwater withdrawals: 315 Mgal/d

    Total domestic water use: 73 Mgal/d (99 gal per capita, #14 highest for all states)
    - Public supply: 99 Mgal/d (112 gal per capita, #10 highest for all states)
    --- 550,000 people served (74% of population)
    - Self-supplied: 11 Mgal/d (60 gal per capita, #9 lowest for all states)
    --- 189,000 people served (26% of population)

    Non-public total water use: 656 Mgal/d
    - Irrigation: 2 Mgal/d
    - Livestock: 0.13 Mgal/d
    - Aquaculture: 410 Mgal/d
    - Industrial: 8 Mgal/d (fresh), 2 Mgal/d (saline)
    - Mining: 36 Mgal/d (fresh), 131 Mgal/d (saline)
    - Thermoelectric power: 67 Mgal/d (fresh), 0 Mgal/d (saline)

  • #45. Delaware

    Total withdrawals: 790 million gallons per day (Mgal/d)
    - Fresh water withdrawals: 534 Mgal/d
    - Saline water withdrawals: 256 Mgal/d
    - Surface water withdrawals: 620 Mgal/d
    - Groundwater withdrawals: 170 Mgal/d

    Total domestic water use: 76 Mgal/d (80 gal per capita, #24 highest for all states)
    - Public supply: 86 Mgal/d (80 gal per capita, #25 lowest for all states)
    --- 764,000 people served (81% of population)
    - Self-supplied: 15 Mgal/d (80 gal per capita, #21 highest for all states)
    --- 182,000 people served (19% of population)

    Non-public total water use: 689 Mgal/d
    - Irrigation: 113 Mgal/d
    - Livestock: 1 Mgal/d
    - Aquaculture: 2 Mgal/d
    - Industrial: 302 Mgal/d (fresh), 0 Mgal/d (saline)
    - Mining: 0.65 Mgal/d (fresh), 0 Mgal/d (saline)
    - Thermoelectric power: 14 Mgal/d (fresh), 256 Mgal/d (saline)

  • #44. New Hampshire

    Total withdrawals: 935 million gallons per day (Mgal/d)
    - Fresh water withdrawals: 242 Mgal/d
    - Saline water withdrawals: 693 Mgal/d
    - Surface water withdrawals: 855 Mgal/d
    - Groundwater withdrawals: 80 Mgal/d

    Total domestic water use: 80 Mgal/d (60 gal per capita, #10 lowest for all states)
    - Public supply: 96 Mgal/d (60 gal per capita, #10 lowest for all states)
    --- 833,000 people served (63% of population)
    - Self-supplied: 30 Mgal/d (60 gal per capita, #11 lowest for all states)
    --- 497,000 people served (37% of population)

    Non-public total water use: 810 Mgal/d
    - Irrigation: 5 Mgal/d
    - Livestock: 0.84 Mgal/d
    - Aquaculture: 17 Mgal/d
    - Industrial: 13 Mgal/d (fresh), 0 Mgal/d (saline)
    - Mining: 6 Mgal/d (fresh), 0 Mgal/d (saline)
    - Thermoelectric power: 75 Mgal/d (fresh), 693 Mgal/d (saline)

  • #43. Hawaii

    Total withdrawals: 1,060 million gallons per day (Mgal/d)
    - Fresh water withdrawals: 683 Mgal/d
    - Saline water withdrawals: 377 Mgal/d
    - Surface water withdrawals: 702 Mgal/d
    - Groundwater withdrawals: 359 Mgal/d

    Total domestic water use: 206 Mgal/d (144 gal per capita, #5 highest for all states)
    - Public supply: 267 Mgal/d (144 gal per capita, #5 highest for all states)
    --- 1.4 million people served (96% of population)
    - Self-supplied: 8 Mgal/d (144 gal per capita, #4 highest for all states)
    --- 56,300 people served (4% of population)

    Non-public total water use: 785 Mgal/d
    - Irrigation: 385 Mgal/d
    - Livestock: 2 Mgal/d
    - Aquaculture: 19 Mgal/d
    - Industrial: 0.24 Mgal/d (fresh), 0 Mgal/d (saline)
    - Mining: 0.92 Mgal/d (fresh), 0 Mgal/d (saline)
    - Thermoelectric power: 1 Mgal/d (fresh), 377 Mgal/d (saline)

  • #42. North Dakota

    Total withdrawals: 1,400 million gallons per day (Mgal/d)
    - Fresh water withdrawals: 1,380 Mgal/d
    - Saline water withdrawals: 15 Mgal/d
    - Surface water withdrawals: 1,190 Mgal/d
    - Groundwater withdrawals: 202 Mgal/d

    Total domestic water use: 61 Mgal/d (80 gal per capita, #25 highest for all states)
    - Public supply: 84 Mgal/d (80 gal per capita, #24 highest for all states)
    --- 711,000 people served (94% of population)
    - Self-supplied: 4 Mgal/d (80 gal per capita, #22 highest for all states)
    --- 46,400 people served (6% of population)

    Non-public total water use: 1,308 Mgal/d
    - Irrigation: 233 Mgal/d
    - Livestock: 21 Mgal/d
    - Aquaculture: 5 Mgal/d
    - Industrial: 20 Mgal/d (fresh), 0 Mgal/d (saline)
    - Mining: 31 Mgal/d (fresh), 15 Mgal/d (saline)
    - Thermoelectric power: 983 Mgal/d (fresh), 0 Mgal/d (saline)

  • #41. Massachusetts

    Total withdrawals: 1,410 million gallons per day (Mgal/d)
    - Fresh water withdrawals: 920 Mgal/d
    - Saline water withdrawals: 488 Mgal/d
    - Surface water withdrawals: 1,030 Mgal/d
    - Groundwater withdrawals: 380 Mgal/d

    Total domestic water use: 382 Mgal/d (56 gal per capita, #6 lowest for all states)
    - Public supply: 648 Mgal/d (56 gal per capita, #5 lowest for all states)
    --- 6.2 million people served (91% of population)
    - Self-supplied: 35 Mgal/d (57 gal per capita, #7 lowest for all states)
    --- 616,000 people served (9% of population)

    Non-public total water use: 725 Mgal/d
    - Irrigation: 139 Mgal/d
    - Livestock: 1 Mgal/d
    - Aquaculture: 10 Mgal/d
    - Industrial: 28 Mgal/d (fresh), 0 Mgal/d (saline)
    - Mining: 10 Mgal/d (fresh), 0 Mgal/d (saline)
    - Thermoelectric power: 50 Mgal/d (fresh), 487 Mgal/d (saline)

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