The USGS Water Science School
Water Science water-use pages
Categories of Use:
National Water Use Program
Information and Data
Industrial water use
The industries that produce metals, wood and paper products, chemicals, gasoline and oils, and those invaluable grabber utensils you use to get your ring out of the garbage disposal are major users of water. Probably every manufactured product uses water during some part of the production process. Industrial water use includes water used for such purposes as fabricating, processing, washing, diluting, cooling, or transporting a product; incorporating water into a product; or for sanitation needs within the manufacturing facility. Some industries that use large amounts of water produce such commodities as food, paper, chemicals, refined petroleum, or primary metals.
Industrial water use, 2010
Water for industrial use may be delivered from a public supplier or be self-supplied, although most industries tend to supply their own water.
For 2010, withdrawals were an estimated 15,900 Mgal/d, or 17,900 thousand acre-ft/yr. Industrial withdrawals were about 4 percent of total withdrawals and about 8 percent of total withdrawals for all categories excluding thermoelectric power. Surface water was the source for 82 percent of total industrial withdrawals, and 93 percent of the surface-water withdrawals for industrial use was freshwater. More than 98 percent of the groundwater withdrawals for industrial use also was freshwater. For 2010, total industrial withdrawals were 12 percent less than in 2005.
Industrial water withdrawals, by State, 2010
The geographic distribution of total, total surface-water, and total groundwater withdrawals for industrial use is shown in figure 10. Indiana, Louisiana, and Texas accounted for 35 percent of total industrial withdrawals, and Indiana and Louisiana accounted for 33 percent of the total fresh surface-water withdrawals. Texas accounted for 65 percent of the saline surface-water industrial withdrawals, mostly from areas along the Gulf coast. The largest fresh groundwater industrial withdrawals were in California, which accounted for 14 percent of the total national fresh groundwater industrial withdrawals. Most of the saline groundwater industrial withdrawals were in Utah.
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