Skip to Main Content
Past and future freshwater use in the United StatesAuthor(s): Thomas C. Brown
Source: Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-39. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, 47 p.
Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
Download Publication (6.5 MB)
DescriptionWater use in the United States to the year 2040 is estimated by extending past trends in basic water-use determinants. Those trends are largely encouraging. Over the past 35 years, withdrawals in industry and at thermoelectric plants have steadily dropped per unit of output, and over the past 15 years some irrigated regions have also increased the efficiency of their water use. Further, per-capita domestic withdrawals may have finally peaked. If these trends continue, aggregate withdrawals in the U.S. over the next 40 years will stay below 10% of the 1995 level, despite a 41% expected increase in population. However, not all areas of the U.S. are projected to fare as well. Of the 20 water resource regions in the U.S., withdrawals in seven are projected to increase by from 15% to 30% above 1995 levels. Most of the substantial increases are attributable to domestic and public or thermoelectric use, although the large increases in 3 regions are mainly due to growth in irrigated acreage. The most important and uncertain assumptions necessary to make these projections are those about future irrigated acreage. If irrigated acreage fails to drop in most Western basins, as assumed, withdrawals may be substantially above these projections.
- You may send email to firstname.lastname@example.org to request a hard copy of this publication.
- (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationBrown, Thomas C. 1999. Past and future freshwater use in the United States. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-39. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, 47 p.
Keywordswater use, water withdrawal, trends, forecasting, domestic water use, industrial and commercial water use, thermoelectric power, irrigation, consumptive water use
- Projected freshwater withdrawals in the United States under a changing climate
- Data on projections of surface water withdrawal, consumption, and availability in the conterminous United States through the 21st century
- Past and future water use in Pacific Coast states.
XML: View XML