Water Use in the United States
Livestock Water Use
Livestock water use is water associated with livestock watering, feedlots, dairy operations, and other on-farm needs. Livestock includes dairy cows and heifers, beef cattle and calves, sheep and lambs, goats, hogs and pigs, horses, and poultry. Other livestock water uses include cooling of facilities for the animals and products, dairy sanitation and wash down of facilities, animal waste-disposal systems, and incidental water losses. The livestock category excludes on-farm domestic use, lawn and garden watering, and irrigation water use.
2015 Water Use
(source: Dieter, C.A., Maupin, M.A., Caldwell, R.R., Harris, M.A., Ivahnenko, T.I., Lovelace, J.K., Barber, N.L., and Linsey, K.S., 2018, Estimated use of water in the United States in 2015: U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1441, 65 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/cir1441.)
Withdrawals for livestock use were an estimated 2,000 Mgal/d for 2015, less than 1 percent of total freshwater withdrawals. Groundwater was the source for 62 percent of total livestock withdrawals.
Withdrawals for livestock were about the same in 2015 as in 2010.
Few State agencies require livestock operations to report water withdrawals; therefore, most estimates of livestock withdrawals are derived using animal population data and water-use coefficients, in gallons per head per day for each animal type. Animal population data generally are available from State agricultural agencies and the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service. Coefficients vary by State and, for many States, are provided by agricultural extension agents or water-permitting agencies. Coefficients may reflect facility maintenance needs and effects of climate on animal watering. Many of the 2015 withdrawals for livestock were estimated according to methods described by Lovelace (2009).