New Data on U.S. Water Use

The Department of Interior’s U.S. Geological Survey (@USGS) National Water Use Science Project (NWUSP) recently released preliminary water-use estimates for 2015. @USGS has provided estimates of water use in the U.S. every 5 years since 1950.

87% of U.S. Population Served Potable Drinking Water by Public-supply Water Systems

From 2010 to 2015 the U.S. population increased by 4 percent, from 313 million people up to 325 million.

@USGS also found the population of those receiving potable drinking water from public-supply water systems also increased.  Those served with drinking water from public supply water systems increased by almost 14 million people (5 percent), from 269 million people in 2010 to 282 million people in 2015 which is 87 percent of the total U.S. population.

Domestic Water Use Down Slightly in 2015 but Still 23.3 Billion Gallons Per Day

In 2015 about 39.2 billion gallons of water per day was withdrawn for public supply.  That is down by 7 percent, or 2.89 billion gallons of water per day from 2010 when 42.1 billion gallons of water per day were withdrawn.  About 60 percent of public supply is delivered for domestic use that includes indoor/outdoor residential uses such as drinking water, sanitation, and landscape watering.

Domestic water use in 2015 was also down from 2010 by 2 percent, or 381 million gallons of water per day to 23. 3 billion gallons of water per day.

In 2015 the national average per capita water use in the U.S. was 83 gallons per day.  This is down by 5 gallons of water per day in 2010 when per capita water use was 88 gallons per day.

This data will be updated as data for additional water-use categories are available for release.  The final version will be released when the circular that relies on this underlying data is published.

6 Billion Gallons of TREATED Water Lost Daily!

In the U.S., 6 billion gallons of treated drinking water per day is lost due to an average 658 water main breaks occurring in drinking water mains.

For more information on the preliminary data by @USGS, click here.


Infrastructure Plan MUST Include Major Investment in Drinking Water

During the 2016 election then-presidential candidate Donald Trump promised a plan to invest $1 trillion in U.S. infrastructure within the first 100 days of being in office.  It’s been over one year since the U.S. electorate elected Donald Trump to the Office of the President and still there is no major infrastructure plan for the U.S.  In addition, during a campaign stop in Flint Michigan on September 30, 2016, candidate Donald Trump toured the Flint Water Plant  and said “..I look at the damage and the damage can be taken care of..”  While Congress did enact legislation approving water projects across the country in mid-December 2016, including $170 million to assist with the lead in Flint’s drinking water, there remains a significant challenge ahead with the U.S. drinking water infrastructure.

In their 2017 Infrastructure Report Card for the U.S. the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASAE) gave the U.S. drinking water infrastructure a “D.”   In their report ASAE said, “Many of those (drinking water) pipes were laid in the early to mid-20th century with a lifespan of 75 to 100 years. The quality of drinking water in the United States remains high, but legacy and emerging contaminants continue to require close attention.”  The American Water Works Association has also estimated that at least $1 trillion will be necessary to maintain and expand services to meet demands over the next 25 years.

Look for our next article coming soon about transparency in government contracting for water projects and the use of advanced, trenchless technologies that can reduce water project costs.

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Tim Cansler