Estimated Use of Water in the United States in 1980

Circular 1001
By: , and 



Water use in the United States in 1980 was estimated to be an average of 450 bgd (billion gallons per day) of fresh and saline water for offstream uses- an 8-percent increase from the 1975 estimate and a 22-percent increase from the 1970 estimate. Average per capita use for all offstream uses was 2,000 gpd (gallons per day) of fresh and saline water, and 1,600 gpd of fresh water; this represents a slight increase since 1975. Offstream uses include (1) public supply (domestic, public, commercial, and industrial uses), (2) rural (domestic and livestock uses), (3) irrigation, and (4) self-supplied industrial uses (including thermoelectric power). From 1975 to 1980, public supply use increased 15 percent to 34 bgd, rural use increased 14 percent to 5.6 bgd, irrigation use increased 7 percent to 150 bgd, and self-supplied industrial use increased 8 percent to 260 bgd. Within the industrial category, thermoelectric power generation increased 9 percent to 210 bgd, whereas other self-supplied industrial uses remained approximately constant at 45 bgd. Total fresh water consumed- that part of water withdrawn that is no longer available for subsequent use- by these offstream uses increased 7 percent to 100 bgd, with irrigation accounting for the largest part of water consumed, estimated at 83 bgd. Estimates of withdrawals by source indicate that from 1975 to 1980, total groundwater withdrawals increased 7 percent to 89 bgd, and total surface-water withdrawals increased 9 percent to 360 bgd. Total saline-water withdrawals increased by about 2 bgd to 72 bgd, of which 71 bgd was saline surface water. Reclaimed sewage amounted to about 0.5 bgd in 1980, an 11-percent decrease from 1975. Water used for hydroelectric power generation, an instream use, remained unchanged from 1975 at 3,300 bgd. This is in contrast to the increasing trend from 1950 to 1975. Although 1980 estimates of water use were higher than the 1975 estimates for all offstream categories, trends establishing during the periods 1970 to 1975 and 1975 to 1980 indicate a general slackening in the rate of increase of total withdrawls in comparison to the period 1965 to 1970. (USGS)

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Estimated Use of Water in the United States in 1980
Series title Circular
Series number 1001
DOI 10.3133/cir1001
Edition -
Year Published 1983
Language ENGLISH
Publisher Geological Survey (U.S.)
Contributing office(s) U.S. Geological Survey
Description vii, 56 p.