Estimated water use and general hydrologic conditions for Oregon, 1985 and 1990

Water-Resources Investigations Report 96-4080




Water-use information is vital to planners, engineers, and hydrologists in water resources. This report is a compilation of water-use information for Oregon for calendar years 1985 and 1990. The report presents water-use data by geographic region for several categories of use, including public supply, domestic, commercial, industrial, mining, thermoelectric power, hydroelectric power, live-stock, irrigation, reservoir evaporation, and wastewater treatment. Hydroelectric power is the only instream use discussed; all other uses are considered offstream. The Appendix presents 1985 and 1990 data by region and by drainage basin for the previously mentioned categories of use. The Cascade Range divides Oregon into two distinct climatic zones. The area west of the Cascade Range has an average annual precipitation that ranges from 40 to 200 inches, and precipitation in the area east of the Cascade Range ranges from 10 to 20 inches. The differences in precipitation and geology have an effect on the sources, uses, and amounts of water withdrawn. Most of the large public-supply systems west of the Cascade Range rely on surface water, whereas many of the large public-supply systems east of the Cascade Range use on wells or springs. Irrigators west of the Cascade Range rely primarily on nearby surface- water sources; however, irrigators east of the Cascade Range use primarily surface water that commonly is delivered from distant sources through irrigation ditches. A variety of methods was used to estimate water-use information. Most withdrawals for public-water suppliers were metered; however, irrigation withdrawals usually were estimated by using information on crops, climate, application efficiencies, and conveyance losses. The accuracy of the estimated total withdrawal values for public supply was estimated to be within 4 percent of the values that would be obtained if all public-supply withdrawals were metered. Total withdrawals for irrigation were estimated to be within 40 percent of metered irrigation withdrawals. The estimates-of-error are presented to show the relative, rather than absolute, accuracy of the data for each water-use category. A total of 8,400 million gallons of water per day was withdrawn in Oregon during 1990, about 1,900 million gallons per day more than the 6,500 million gallons per day withdrawn in 1985. Whereas actual water use increased in 1990, the major differences between 1985 and 1990 were attributed to the inclusion of offstream fish hatcheries, the use of different crop coefficients to estimate irrigation, and the availability of more detailed information in the 1990 estimates. Surface-water withdrawals accounted for 92 percent of the total withdrawals in 1990; irrigation was the largest category of water use, accounting for 82 percent of the total withdrawals.

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Estimated water use and general hydrologic conditions for Oregon, 1985 and 1990
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Dept. of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey ; Branch of Information Services [distributor],
Contributing office(s):
Oregon Water Science Center
vi, 154 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm. [PGS - 166 p.]