Glad You Asked: Does Utah Really Use More Water Than Any Other State?
by Mark Milligan
Current USGS water use reporting categories and total gallons used per day in 2010
(the most recent year of available data)
Public Supply–42 Billion U.S. / 673 Million Utah.
Water withdrawn by public and private water suppliers that furnish water to at least 25 people or have a minimum of 15 connections. Public suppliers provide water for a variety of uses, such as domestic, commercial, industrial, thermoelectric-power, and public water use.
Domestic–6 Billion U.S. / 8.44 Million Utah (self-supplied only).
Water used for indoor and outdoor household purposes such as drinking, food preparation, flushing toilets, and watering lawns. As a reporting category it includes water provided by public water suppliers and self-supplied water such as private wells. Reported uses may only include self-supplied water to avoid double counting with the Public Supply category.
Irrigation –115 Billion U.S. / 3.22 Billion Utah.
Water used for crop production and recreational lands such as parks and golf courses.
Livestock –2 Billion U.S. / 16.5 Million Utah.
Water used for livestock watering, feedlots, dairy operations, and other on-farm needs.
Aquaculture –42 Billion U.S. / 97.1 Million Utah.
Water used for offstream fish hatcheries and the farming of finfish, shellfish, and other organisms that live in water.
Industrial–16 Billion U.S. / 118.2 Million Utah.
Water used for fabrication, processing, washing, and cooling. Includes industries such as chemical, food, mining, paper, petroleum refining, and steel.
Mining–32 Billion U.S. / 250.19 Million Utah.
Water used for extracting commodities such as minerals, coal, oil, gas, sand, gravel, and stone.
Power–160 Billion U.S. / 80.9 Million Utah.
Water used in the process of generating electricity with steam-driven turbine generators (thermoelectric power). This includes almost all coal, nuclear, and geothermal power plants as well as some solar and many natural gas power plants. Thermoelectric power generation accounted for 45 percent of total (fresh and saline) and 38 percent of fresh water use nationally in 2010.
Survey Notes, v. 50 no. 2, May 2018