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Window of State Government

Texas Water Report:
Going Deeper for the Solution

Note: This report was released Jan. 14, 2014, and may contain outdated information.
To locate more recent data, use the resources guide in the PDF version of the report.

Distribution of Freshwater in the U.S.

The U.S. has some of the world’s largest concentrations of fresh water. It is unevenly distributed, however.

As the Ogallala Aquifer in Texas continues to decline, more producers will have to move away from irrigated farming, which will have an enormous economic impact on the region. Since 1950, some areas of the aquifer have dropped by as much as 300 feet. In 2011, the U.S. Geological Survey reported that Texas has used 32 percent of the total volume of water in the Texas portion of the Ogallala.

At current consumption rates, Texas' portion of the aquifer will go dry in about 140 YEARS.

Unfortunately, some of the nation’s most water-poor regions (or those most vulnerable to water scarcity) are among its fastest growing.

map showing southwest portion of United States, including parts of Texas are at high water risk

Sources: The World Resources Institute aqueduct water risk assessment map; The U.S. Census Bureau, "Population Distribution and Change: 2000 to 2010."

How Does America Use Water?

The U.S. uses about 349 billion gallons of fresh water every day.
Its uses fall in eight general categories:

Purpose Percent of Total
Thermoelectric power 41.0
Irrigation 36.7
Public supply 12.7
Industrial 4.9
Aquaculture 2.5
Domestic use 1.1
Mining 0.7
Livestock 0.6

Totals may not add due to rounding. “Mining” category includes oil and gas production. “Domestic use” represents water obtained from private wells.

Source: U.S. Geological Survey, Estimated Use of Water in the United States in 2005

To see the ways that Texans use water — and find out how those uses are expected to change in coming decades — read page 4 of Texas Water Report: Going Deeper for the Solution (PDF).