Estimating Monthly Water Withdrawals, Return Flow, and Consumptive Use in the Great Lakes Basin

Open-File Report 2010-1211

Prepared by the USGS Ohio Water Science Center



Water-resource managers and planners require water-withdrawal, return-flow, and consumptive-use data to understand how anthropogenic (human) water use affects the hydrologic system. Water models like MODFLOW and GSFLOW use calculations and input values (including water-withdrawal and return flow data) to simulate and predict the effects of water use on aquifer and stream conditions. Accurate assessments of consumptive use, interbasin transfer, and areas that are on public supply or sewer are essential in estimating the withdrawal and return-flow data needed for the models. As the applicability of a model to real situations depends on accurate input data, limited or poor water-use data hampers the ability of modelers to simulate and predict hydrologic conditions. Substantial differences exist among the many agencies nationwide that are responsible for compiling water-use data including what data are collected, how the data are organized, how often the data are collected, quality assurance, required level of accuracy, and when data are released to the public. This poster presents water-use information and estimation methods summarized from recent U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) reports with the intent to assist water-resource managers and planners who need estimates of monthly water withdrawals, return flows, and consumptive use. This poster lists references used in Shaffer (2009) for water withdrawals, consumptive use, and return flows. Monthly percent of annual withdrawals and monthly consumptive-use coefficients are used to compute monthly water withdrawals, consumptive use, and return flow for the Great Lakes Basin.

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Estimating Monthly Water Withdrawals, Return Flow, and Consumptive Use in the Great Lakes Basin
Series title:
Open-File Report
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Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey
Contributing office(s):
Ohio Water Science Center
Poster: 42 inches x 87 inches; Components of Water Use Figure poster: 17 inches x 11 inches
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