Public supply and domestic water use in the United States, 2015

Open-File Report 2017-1131




The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Water Use Science Project (NWUSP), part of the USGS Water Availability and Use Science Program (WAUSP), has estimated water use in the United States every 5 years since 1950. This report provides an overview of total population, public-supply use, including the population that is served by public-supply systems and the domestic deliveries to those users, and self-supplied domestic water use in the United States for 2015, continuing the task of estimating water use in the United States every 5 years. In this report, estimates for the United States include the 50 States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands (hereafter referred to as “states” for brevity).

County-level data for total population, public-supply withdrawals and the population served by public-supply systems, and domestic withdrawals for 2015 were published in a data release in an effort to provide data to the public in a timely manner. Data in the current version (1.0) of Dieter and others (2017) contains county-level total withdrawals from groundwater and surface-water sources (both fresh and saline) for public-water supply, the deliveries from those suppliers to domestic users, and the quantities of water from groundwater and surface-water sources for self-supplied domestic users, and total population. Methods used to estimate the various data elements for the public-supply and domestic use categories at the county level are described by Bradley (2017).

This Open-File Report is an interim report summarizing the data published in Dieter and others (2017) at the state and national level. This report includes discussions on the total population, totals for public-supply withdrawals and population served, total domestic withdrawals, and provides comparisons of the 2015 estimates to 2010 estimates (Maupin and others, 2014). Total domestic water use, as described in this report, represents the summation of deliveries from public-water supply to domestic users plus self-supplied domestic withdrawals.

Values for 2010 are the best available data for 2010 from the USGS Aggregate Water-Use Data System (AWUDS). The 2010 values presented in this report may have been revised from 2010 values published in Maupin and others (2014), and therefore values for 2010 in this report may not exactly match values in Maupin and others (2014).

Withdrawal and population values in this report are rounded to three significant figures. All values are rounded independently, so the sums of individually rounded numbers may not equal the totals. Percent change is calculated on unrounded data and is expressed as an integer. Differences between 2010 and 2015 values are calculated on unrounded data, then the differences are rounded.

Suggested Citation

Dieter, C.A., and Maupin, M.A., 2017, Public supply and domestic water use in the United States, 2015: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report
2017–1131, 6 p.,

ISSN: 2331-1258 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Total Population
  • Public-Supply Use and Population Served
  • Public-Supply Deliveries to Domestic Users
  • Self-Supplied Domestic Use
  • Total Domestic Use
  • Summary
  • References Cited

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Public supply and domestic water use in the United States, 2015
Series title:
Open-File Report
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
Contributing office(s):
Maryland Water Science Center
iv, 6 p.
United States
Online Only (Y/N):
Additional Online Files (Y/N):