U.S. Geological Survey

Residential Water Use Background Information and Resources

According to Vickers (2001), total residential water use in the US is estimated to average 26,100 million gallons per day (mgd). The U.S. Geological Survey (1998) estimates that residential consumptive use represents 26% of total United States use and that 87% of this is supplied by public water sources.


January 28, 2015--Natural breakdown of petroleum may lace arsenic into groundwater (Environmental News Network)

In a long-term field study, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and Virginia Tech scientists have found that changes in geochemistry from the natural breakdown of petroleum hydrocarbons underground can promote the chemical release (mobilization) of naturally occurring arsenic into groundwater.


January 24, 2015--Report: Farming and urban growth are polluting America’s aquifers (Circle of Blue)

Farming and urban growth, two forces that are reshaping the land surface, are also changing the chemistry and physical properties of the nation’s aquifers, leading to greater concentrations of natural and manmade pollutants that could persist for decades in essential underground water sources, according to a comprehensive U.S.


January 24, 2015--Irrigation water use drops by 30 percent in Nebraska (Journal Star)

Water used to irrigate and grow corn and other agricultural crops dropped by 30 percent across a wide swath of Nebraska last year. And a recent report by the U.S. Geological Survey indicates that, on average, the condition of the Ogallala Aquifer is stable and significantly healthier in Nebraska than in all other states over significant portions of the massive freshwater aquifer.


November 16, 2014--Study finds Americans using less water, but Idahoans use the most (Idaho Statesman)

A study by local, state and federal officials tracking everything from collective sips at the public fountain to irrigating crops to water used to cool nuclear power plants has found that water usage has dropped to levels of at least 40 years ago.


November 11, 2014--Factory and irrigation technologies have significantly cut US water use (Popular Science)

In 2010, the U.S. used less water than it has in a generation, according to a new announcement from the U.S. Geological Survey. American power plants, factories, farms, and homes used a total of 355 billion gallons of fresh and salt water a day in 2010. If you divide that amount by the U.S. population in 2010, it comes out to 1,150 gallons per person, per day.


October 26, 2014--The West needs a water market to fight drought (Wall Street Journal)

The drought in the Western U.S. from California to Texas has generated gloomy editorials and op-eds predicting dire consequences and even water wars. But the West is not running out of water, nor are prolonged fights over water inevitable.


October 4, 2014--Report warns of damages from pumping aquifer water to LV (Las Vegas Review Journal)

A recently released study by the U.S. Geological Survey that analyzed the potential impact on the region the SNWA is looking to tap makes it clear the Las Vegas water grab would substantially damage the regional aquifer. That’s hardly surprising given the fact Nevada’s state engineer in 2012 granted the SNWA the right to pump up to 83,900 acre feet from Lincoln Counties.


October 4, 2014--NASA satellite images show severity of California water storage loss (Southern California 4 News)

NASA images released this week show the severity of drought-stricken California's declining water storage over the past decade. The images from the space agency's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment satellites (GRACE) show the state's accumulated water loss from June 2002 to June 2008 and June 2014.


September 5, 2014--Melting permafrost could worsen water quality in the Rockies (Colorado Independent)

We may not yet know exactly how global warming will affect all the complex parts of Rocky Mountain ecosystems, but it’s not for lack of trying.


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