America uses 322 billion gallons of water each day. Here’s where it goes.

America uses 322 billion gallons of water each day. Here’s where it goes.

Photo © iStockphoto.com/iofoto

From cooling power plants to quenching thirst and growing crops, water is part of everything we do.

February 22, 2019 — As climate change, urban development, irrigation and other factors are altering the availability of water, it’s important to understand how we use water on a daily basis in the U.S. — and where the opportunities are for using it more wisely.

A recent report from the … [more…]

Another Benefit of Renewable Energy: It Uses Practically No Water Compared to Fossil Fuels

photo: solar power cells installed, replacing fossil fuels energy sources

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) recently highlighted a little-discussed benefit of using renewables like wind and solar to produce electricity: Unlike most power sources, they require “almost no water.”

This is remarkable because thermoelectric power generation is the leading use of water in America. (That said, only three percent of power generation’s 133 billion gallons a day of water is considered “consumptive use,” as the U.S. Geological Survey says, “meaning … [more…]

Water use in the USA, 2015

map: Water use in the USA, 2015

Although thermoelectric and irrigation are the dominant categories nationally, the county breakdown reveals regional variation. In the map below, you can see all categories for each county at once.

While you can still see that irrigation and thermoelectric are the largest, there is a striking contrast between the East — where thermoelectric is dominant — and the West — where irrigation is dominant.

As a result of all these spatial … [more…]