Since at least the 1950s, the USGS has done a survey of water use in the U.S. The most recent one was recently released. The report includes some striking numbers and trends in use that might seem counter-intuitive, given that our population growth isn’t slowing down at all. The Pacific Institute, a well-known California-based nonpartisan research institute that works to advance environmental protection, economic development, and social equity reviewed the data and has issued their commentary on the report.
A more straight forward read for the “average joe”, in my opinion, was posted by Gretchen Weber on the website of KQED, the San Francisco PBS station. The article starts:
Despite the addition of 81 million people over the period, Americans were using less water in 2005 than they were in 1975.
And goes on:
The per-capita decrease of 30% since 2000, down to 1383 gallons per person per day, is a level not seen since the 1950s. Of course this doesn’t mean that each person in the United States is using more than a thousand gallons per day at home–that number is somewhere between 54 (if you live in Maine) and 190 (if you live in Nevada). The USGS number is derived from dividing total water withdrawals by total population. In 2005, the total withdrawal was 410 billion gallons per day (5% less than in the peak year, 1980) and the total population was approximately 310 million.
Last 5 posts by Amanda Rice
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