The U.S. Geological Survey National Water Use Information Program compiles estimates of fresh ground-water withdrawals in the United States on a 5-year interval. In the year-2000 compilation, withdrawals were reported from principal aquifers and aquifer systems including two general aquifers - Alluvial and Other aquifers. Withdrawals from a widespread aquifer group - stream-valley aquifers - were not specifically identified in the year-2000 compilation, but they are important sources of ground water. Stream-valley aquifers are alluvial aquifers located in the valley of major streams and rivers. Stream-valley aquifers are long but narrow aquifers that are in direct hydraulic connection with associated streams and limited in extent compared to most principal aquifers.
Based in large part on information published in U.S. Geological Survey reports, preliminary analysis of withdrawal data and hydrogeologic and surface-water information indicated areas in the United States where possible stream-valley aquifers were located. Further assessment focused on 24 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Withdrawals reported from Alluvial aquifers in 16 states and withdrawals reported from Other aquifers in 6 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico were investigated. Two additional States - Arkansas and New Jersey - were investigated because withdrawals reported from other principal aquifers in these two States may be from stream-valley aquifers.
Withdrawals from stream-valley aquifers were identified in 20 States and were about 1,560 Mgal/d (million gallons per day), a rate comparable to withdrawals from the 10 most productive principal aquifers in the United States. Of the 1,560 Mgal/d of withdrawals attributed to stream-valley aquifers, 1,240 Mgal/d were disaggregated from Alluvial aquifers, 150 Mgal/d from glacial sand and gravel aquifers, 116 Mgal/d from Other aquifers, 28.1 Mgal/d from Pennsylvanian aquifers, and 24.9 Mgal/d from the Mississippi River Valley alluvial aquifer. Five States, including Colorado (552 Mgal/d), Kansas (384 Mgal/d), Oklahoma (126 Mgal/d), Kentucky (102 Mgal/d), and Ohio (100 Mgal/d), accounted for 81 percent of estimated stream-valley aquifer withdrawals identified in this report. Of the total withdrawals from stream-valley aquifers, about 63 percent (984 Mgal/d) were used for irrigation, 26 percent (400 Mgal/d) for public-supply, and 11 percent (177 Mgal/d) for self-supplied industrial uses. The largest estimated water withdrawals were from stream-valley aquifers associated with the South Platte (404 Mgal/d), Arkansas (395 Mgal/d), and Ohio (221 Mgal/d) Rivers.