15 Interesting Facts About Farm Irrigation

by admin on November 3, 2014

Irrigation accounts for a majority of the freshwater used worldwide and the expected doubling of food requirements by 2050 will result in significant increases in freshwater withdrawals. This week we share 15 interesting facts about farm irrigation that you might not know.

Irrigation equipment on farm field“Irrigation accounts for the largest use of groundwater in the United States. Some 53.5 billion gallons of groundwater are used daily for agricultural irrigation from 407,923 wells.”

“More than 90 percent of the groundwater pumped from the Ogallala, the nation’s largest aquifer underlying some 250,000 square miles stretching from Texas to South Dakota, is used for agricultural irrigation. Representing about one-third of all U.S. irrigated agriculture, it creates about $20 billion annually in food and fiber.”

“Withdrawals for irrigation increased by more than 68 percent from 1950 to 1980 (from 89,000 to 150,000 Mgal/d). Withdrawals have decreased since 1980 and have stabilized at between 134,000 and 137,000 Mgal/d between 1985 and 2000, and 128,000 in 2005.”

“Five States—California, Nebraska, Texas, Arkansas, and Idaho—accounted for 52 percent of total irrigated acreage.” (2005)

The world’s irrigated area expanded from almost 250m acres in 1950 to roughly 700m acres in 2000 (nearly tripling) but has increased just 10% from 2000 to 2010.

80% of Washington water withdrawals are for agriculture (1.8 million irrigated acres).

“In India, approximately one-fifth of the nation’s total electricity consumption goes toward pumping groundwater for irrigation.”

“While only 20% of the world’s farmland is irrigated, it produces 40% of our food supply.”

India uses 90% of its freshwater withdrawals for agriculture while China uses 65% of its freshwater withdrawals for agriculture.

“Globally, agriculture water withdrawals (2,703 km3/yr) account for more than double the combined withdrawals for municipal and industrial use (468 km3/yr and 731 km3/yr, respectively).”

“Globally, roughly 15-35% of irrigation withdrawals are estimated to be unsustainable.”

“In England where rain is abundant year round, water used for agriculture accounts for less than 1% of human usage.”

“Agriculture wastes 60% or 1,500 trillion liters, of the 2,500 trillion liters of water it uses each year.”

Using today’s irrigation methods, 2,000 more cubic kilometers of water will be needed per year in 2030 to keep everyone fed.

“The Aral Sea, in Central Asia, has been almost completely emptied by irrigation.” (68,000 square kilometers to 17,000 square kilometers)

Leaks and breaks in the aging US water infrastructure results in trillions gallons of freshwater lost each year in the United States. In this week’s roundup we share 10 interesting links that discuss the US water infrastructure issues.

Leak of water from a crack in an old rusty pipeNation’s Pipes Leak Enough Water to Drown Manhattan and Chicago

“If all of the estimated 2.1 trillion gallons of expensive, treated water that leaks from the country’s outdated systems each year sloshed its way to New York City, a 298-foot flood would swallow Manhattan.”

Why water conservation doesn’t mean lower water rates Marketplace

“Those pipes were put into ground anywhere from 70 to 100 years ago,” says AWWA’s CEO David LaFrance. “There’s massive needs for replacements. We estimate that over the next 25 years it’s a trillion dollar problem.”

Aging water infrastructure ‘nearing the end of its useful life’ Midwest Center for Investigative Center

“In 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency estimated that upgrading drinking water infrastructure would cost more than $384 billion.”

Los Angeles Pipe Burst A Reminder Of Aging Water Infrastructure In Central Valley CBS Sacramento

“Los Angeles city leaders say the 8 million gallons of lost water that could have supplied more than 100,000 people for a day.”

Infrastructure Issues Across U.S. Not an Easy Fix CBS News

“These systems were put in, some of them, as far back as the turn of the century,” said Brian Pallasch, a director for the American Society of Civil Engineers. “And it’s one of those problems where they’re buried, so they’re out of sight, and they’re out of mind.”

The Facts About Sustainable Water Infrastructure United States Environmental Protection Agency

“With regard to piping systems, the 2000 Community Water System Survey found that for drinking water systems that serve more than 100,000 people, about 30 percent of the pipes were between 40 and 80 years old and about 10 percent of the pipes were more than 80 years old.”

2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure American Society of Civil Engineers

“California has reported $39 billion in drinking water infrastructure needs over the next 20 years.”

Buried No Longer: Confronting America’s Water Infrastructure Challenge American Water Works Association

Over the coming 40-year period, through 2050, the investment needs for buried drinking water infrastructure exceed $1.7 trillion.

America’s Water Infrastructure Challenge: Moving from Proposals to Solutions Huffington Post

“Seven billion gallons of treated drinking water are lost nationwide through leaky pipes every single day. That’s enough to meet the daily water needs of California.”

America’s Urban Water Crisis Politico

“In 2013 alone, Houston lost more than 22 billion gallons of water — 15 percent of the city’s total water supply — due to leaking pipes. That same year, there were 100 water main breaks in San Francisco.”

Study: Bay Area Loses Billions of Water to Leaky Pipes

“A new study of California records shows that Bay Area water providers have been losing about 23 billion gallons of water a year due to aging and broken pipes.”

The Art of Water Recovery The New York Times

“The Environmental Protection Agency estimates (pdf) that public water systems lose, on average, one-sixth of their water — mainly from leaks in pipes.”

Caution Ahead: Overdue Investments for New York’s Aging Infrastructure Center for an Urban Future

“Over 1,000 miles of New York City water mains are more than 100 years old, leading to frequent and disruptive breaks…Since 1998, New York has experienced at least 400 water main breaks in all but one year; in 2013, there were 403.”

Aging pipe break points to U.S. water main risk Yahoo News

“There are 240,000 breaks a year, according to the National Association of Water Companies, a problem compounded by stress from an increasing population and budget crunches that slow the pace of replacement.”

The Case for Fixing the Leaks: America’s Crumbling Water Infrastructure Wastes Billions of Gallons, Dollars The Center for Neighborhood Technology

“In the Great Lakes states, a survey of water service providers estimated that 66.5 billion gallons of treated water is lost each year.”

14 Useful Water Calculators

by admin on October 6, 2014

If you work with water or just want to reduce your water usage, there are several useful calculators online to make water calculations. Here are 14 useful calculators from around the Internet.

water-calculatorWater Footprint Calculator National Geographic
National Geographic estimates users’ water footprint based on their behavior and compares it to the average household.

Water Footprint Extended Calculator
This tool estimates your water footprint based on your food consumption and home water usage.

Daily Indoor Water Use U.S. Geological Survey
A basic calculation of indoor water use based on showers, dishwashing, laundry, and toilet use.

Drip Calculator American Water Works Association
This calculator estimates the daily, monthly, and annual waste from a leaky fixture.

Water Flow Rate through Piping
Using the variables of pipe grade, pipe size, and water velocity, this tool calculates the water flow rate through piping.

Garden Hose Flow Rate and Time Washington State University
This tool provides the flow rate through a garden hose based on the inputs of hose size, hose length, and supply pressure.

Drip Line Rate Washington State University
Another tool from Washington State University that estimates the water usage for drip irrigation.

Pipeline Pressure Loss Washington State University
This tool estimates the water pressure lost in a pipe while factoring in variables such as material, flow rate, and inside diameter.

Irrigation Meter Calculator University of Nebraska
This calculator estimates the number of inches of irrigation applied to a specific area.

Irrigation Conversion Calculator Rain Bird
A conversion tool for quickly converting units used for flow, precipitation rate, and more.

Water Use Calculator Southwest Florida Water Management District
This basic water usage calculator estimates the household water consumption and outputs a nice visualization for each category.

Water Calculator Home Water Works
Another calculator that estimates the household water use following a survey of behavioral questions.

K-Factor Calculator Seametrics
Our K-Factor calculator provides the K-Factor based on variables such as external diameter and wall thickness.

Flow Units Converter The Engineering Toolbox
This tool quickly converts between flow units including gallons per minute, liters per minute, cubic feet per minute, and more.

If you know of a water calculator that should be on this list, leave a comment below.

10 Useful Water Conservation Apps

by admin on September 22, 2014

The vast library of mobile apps includes several tools that can help you conserve water by providing information such as how much water you are consuming and tips for reducing water use. Here are 10 useful water conservation applications to check out.

This free app connects with utilities to provide you with data on how much water you are actually using and shows how you compare to nearby homes. It can also alert you if a leak is detected.

E-Water Footprint
This app estimates your water consumption based on your inputs such as showers, dishwashing, and the foods you eat.

The Groundwater Foundation created this educational app with a fun quiz game to test your knowledge about groundwater, irrigation, conservation, and several other topics.

Virtual Water
An application version of the popular infographic by that shows how much water is used to produce a variety of goods.

Water Use Calculator
This app by the National Ground Water Association helps calculate your daily, weekly, and annual household water based on a set of survey questions. It also compares your usage to the average American.

Waterprint by Water Efficiency magazine also provides an estimate of your water consumption including water embedded in products that you eat, drink, and wear.

H20 Tracker
Available on iPhone and Android, this app is a water conservation game that helps users save water and find out how much water they are using. It also allows you to report water waste by taking a picture to send to your city.

Rain Harvest
A simple application that estimates how much water your roof can collect during a rain storm based on a formula that includes catchment area, rainfall, efficiency, and collection points.

Smartirrigation Turf
An app that provides an irrigation schedule based on weather conditions and short-term forecasts (only for Georgia and Florida).

Drip Detective
Drip Detective is an app that estimates the gallons of water that are being wasted from a leak based on the rate of the drip and also calculates the cost.

Do you have a favorite water conservation app? Please share it in the comments below.

EarthBy 2025, an estimated 1.8 billion people will live in areas plagued by water scarcity, with two-thirds of the world’s population living in water-stressed regions.

780 million people live without clean drinking water.

More than one-third of Africa’s population lacks access to safe drinking water.

Compared to today, five times as much land is likely to be under “extreme drought” by 2050.

Unless measures are taken, California will demand three times more groundwater than can be supplied over the next 100 years.

More than two billion people worldwide rely on wells for their water.

25-33% of Chinese do not have access to safe drinking water.

There will be about 1 billion more mouths to feed worldwide by 2025 and global agriculture alone will require another 1 trillion cubic meters of water per year (equal to the annual flow of 20 Niles or 100 Colorado Rivers).

By 2035, the world’s energy consumption will increase by 35 percent, which in turn will increase water use by 15 percent according to the International Energy Agency.

In 2050 increased population will result in a 19% increase in agricultural water consumption.

Water demand is projected to grow by 55 percent by 2050 (including a 400-percent rise in manufacturing water demand).

46% of the globe’s (terrestrial) surface is covered by transboundary river basins which can lead to future conflicts over water.

Agriculture accounts for ~70% of global freshwater withdrawals and up to 90% in some fast-growing economies.

According to satellite images, the Colorado River Basin has lost about 65 cubic kilometers (15.6 cubic miles) of water from 2004 to 2013. This is twice the amount stored in Lake Mead.

In the US, thermoelectric power plants account for nearly 50% of all freshwater withdrawals.

For decades the Ogallala Aquifer in the United States, one of the world’s largest aquifers, has tapped at rates thousands of times greater than it is being restored.

About 4.5 billion people globally – already live within 50km of an “impaired” water resource – one that is running dry, or polluted.

Over the past 40 years the world’s population has doubled and use of water has quadrupled.

Sub-Saharan Africa has the largest number of water-stressed countries of any region.

While it takes about 12 gallons per day to sustain a human the average American uses about 158 gallons.

According to the U.S. Intelligence Community Assessment of Global Water Security, by 2030 humanity’s “annual global water requirements” will exceed “current sustainable water supplies” by 40%.

The global middle class will surge from 1.8 to 4.9 billion by 2030, which will result in a significant increase in freshwater consumption.

By 2050, 1 in 5 developing countries will face water shortages (UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization).

Half of the global population lives in countries where water tables are rapidly falling.

By the year 2040 there will not be enough water in the world to quench the thirst of the world population and keep the current energy and power solutions going if we continue doing what we are doing today.

Severe droughts are resulting in rapidly shrinking freshwater reservoirs in some areas, especially in the Southwestern United States. Here are 10 interesting articles discussing the declining freshwater reservoirs.

California drought continues to take heavy toll on reservoirs LA Times
-California’s three largest reservoirs (Trinity Lake, Lake Oroville, and Lake Shasta) are at roughly 30% capacity and close to 1977 record lows.

11 Million Water Conservation Plan Fails to Address Groundwater Loss Epoch Times
-The groundwater lost from the Colorado River Basin from December 2004 to November 2013 could fill 20 million Olympic sized swimming pools or almost two Lake Meads.

Colorado River groundwater disappearing at “shocking” rate CBS News
-“Between December 2004 and November 2013, more than 75 percent of the water lost in the Colorado River Basin was from groundwater.”

Colorado River Drought Forces a Painful Reckoning for States New York Times
-Lake Mead is a crucial source of water for cities from Las Vegas to Los Angeles and millions of acres of farmland.
-If Lake Mead’s elevation dips below 1,000 feet above sea level, the Southern Nevada Water Authority loses the ability to serve the municipal needs of 7 in 10 people in Nevada.

5 reasons to panic about Arizona’s water, and 5 reasons not to The Arizona Republic
-Roosevelt, The largest reservoir in Arizona is just 39 percent full and the six reservoirs on the Salt and Verde are at 49 percent capacity and shrinking.

The Colorado River Runs Dry Smithsonian
-“Water resource officials say some of the reservoirs fed by the river will never be full again.”

West’s historic drought stokes fears of water crisis Washington Post
-Wells in California have dried up while one state-owned well near Sacramento had a 100-foot drop in three months.
-Aquifers are being used up at rates that scientists say are historic and unsustainable.

The American Nile National Geographic
-Crops consume about 70 percent of the Colorado River Basin’s water.
-The Gila, the second largest tributary, is mostly bone dry in its lower reaches through Arizona.

US official airs ‘myths’ on Colorado River water The Washington Times
-The combined water storage in dams on the Colorado River has decreased from 60 million acre-feet to 30.4 million acre-feet since 2000.

63 trillion gallons of groundwater lost in drought, study finds LA Times
-Researchers estimate 63 trillion gallons of groundwater has been lost since 2013, the equivalent to flooding four inches of water across the United States west of the Rocky Mountains.

10 Water Conservation Tips for Farmers

by admin on August 24, 2014

Agriculture uses an estimated 70% of the freshwater withdrawals globally and 40% of freshwater withdrawals in the United States. With severe droughts, shrinking reservoirs, and freshwater shortages in some areas of the US, water conservation is as important as ever for farmers. Here are 10 water conservation ideas that can minimize water waste.

Irrigation equipment on farm fieldControl Phreatophytes
Phreatophytes are plants such as the Russian Olive, tamarisk, willows, and cottonwood. According to Colorado State University’s website: “phreatophytes can consume significant quantities of water through evapotranspiration, reducing the availability of water to a cropping system and its users.” These plants can be reduced or removed through a variety of methods including chemical or mechanical.

Low-Energy Spray Irrigation
The US Geological Survey suggests using a Low Energy Precision Application (LEPA) center-pivot system to gently spray water very close to the ground. This method can increase irrigation efficiency from 60% (for traditional spray irrigation) to over 90%.

Irrigation Scheduling
Scheduling irrigation based on soil-plant or atmosphere measurements can decrease water use while improving yields. Software programs can collect weather data including local temperature, rainfall, humidity, and crop evapotransporation to provide recommendations for optimal irrigation scheduling. The University of Minnesota provides an extensive guide on irrigation scheduling using the checkbook method.

Drip Irrigation
According to Big Picture Agriculture, “drip irrigation conserves 50 to 70 percent more water than traditional methods while increasing crop production by 20 to 90 percent.” Colorado State University‘s website explains that drip irrigation provides a desirable balance of water and air in the soil that promotes plant growth while minimizing runoff and evaporation.

Black Polyethylene Plastic Film
Laying black polyethylene plastic film around certain crops will prevent surface evaporation, control weeds, and keep the soil warm at night. This can save 25 percent in water requirements. Black polyethylene film of 1 to 1.5 millimeters in thickness is adequate although it may need to be replaced after one season.

Laser Leveling
Using laser-controlled land leveling equipment can ensure the fields are the ideal slope depending on the type of irrigation used. According to the Texas Water Development Board: “With sprinkler systems, a perfectly level field conserves water by reducing runoff, allowing uniform distribution of water. Furrow irrigation systems need a slight but uniform slope to use water most efficiently. Laser leveling can reduce water use by 20-30% and increase crop yields by 10-20%.”

Rainwater Catchment from a High Tunnel
Iowa State University’s website describes how to install a catchment system to collect rainwater. A 30 by 96 foot hoop house can collect up to 28,000 gallons of water per season and a 1/2 inch of rainfall can fill two 500 gallon tanks.

Use a Water Flow Meter to Measure Water Usage
Peter Drucker famously said “what gets measured, gets managed.” Monitoring how much water is being used in real time with water flow meters can help farmers determine irrigation efficiency and improve water management.

Tailwater Return Systems
Tailwater return systems catch runoff at the low end of the field and pumps it back to the top of the field for reuse. This system may include ditches to collect the runoff, waterways to convey water to a central area, a reservoir, a pump, a power unit, and a pipeline. You can view a diagram of a tailwater return system here.

Improved Furrows
The California Department of Water Resources cites improved furrows as a recommended water conservation method and the University of Nebraska website states that firming irrigation furrows can improve irrigation performance. According to a UNL report, “if the infiltration rate is reduced, then additional water is available to advance further down the furrow. The result is faster advance time to the end of the field, improved water distribution and decreased potential for deep percolation at the head end of the field.”

If you have another farm water conservation tip, please share it below in the comments.

Links to 1000+ Tips for Conserving Water

by admin on August 11, 2014

The following online resources provide helpful tips for saving water in a variety of ways at home, work, outdoors, and on farms.

100+ Ways to Conserve Water Use it Wisely
190 Water Conservation Tips
Inspect your landscape irrigation system regularly for leaks or broken sprinkler heads and adjust pressures to specification.
Catch water in an empty tuna can to measure sprinkler output. 3/4 to 1 inch of water is enough to apply each time you irrigate.

Tips for Inside the Home The Department of the Environment
21 Water Conservation Tips
When constructing a new home or remodeling your bathroom, install low consumption (1.6 gal/flush) toilets.
Do not pre-rinse dishes prior to loading in a dishwasher. Prerinsing is an unnecessary and wasteful use of water.

Water Conservation In and Around the Home Colorado State University
67 Water Conservation Tips
Check your water meter and bill so you can set conservation goals for your family’s outdoor water use.
Set a kitchen timer when watering your lawn or garden, to keep track of the time.

Water Conservation Tips for the Home Lawn and Garden University of California Davis
27 Water Conservation Tips
Before planting, remove existing weeds: they compete with desired plants for soil moisture, sunlight, and nutrients.
To reduce evaporation, operate your irrigation system during the cooler hours of the early morning rather than during the heat of the day.

50 Easy Ways to Save Water City of Charlottesville
50 Water Conservation Tips
Read your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, there is a leak.
Consider using a commercial car wash that recycles water. If you wash your own car, park on the grass and use a hose with an automatic shut-off nozzle.

Water Conservation Tips The City of San Diego
24 Water Conservation Tips
While waiting for hot water to come through the pipes, catch the cool, clean, water in a bucket or a watering can.
If you have a pool, use a cover to cut down evaporation. This will also keep your pool cleaner and reduce the need to add chemicals.

Save Water 49 Ways American Water & Energy Savers
49 Water Conservation Tips
Insulate your water pipes. You’ll get hot water faster plus avoid wasting water while it heats up.
Raise the lawn mower blade to at least three inches. A lawn cut higher encourages grass roots to grow deeper, shades the root system and holds soil moisture better than a closely-clipped lawn.

15 Smart Ways to Save Water (and Money) Popular Mechanics
15 Water Conservation Tips
Replace standard faucet aerators with aerators that are equipped with flow restrictors, which can decrease the flow from the standard 2.75 gallons per minute (gpm) down to about 1 gpm.
Spread a thick layer of bark mulch around flower beds, trees, shrubs and gardens. Mulch not only helps suppress weeds, it also retains moisture so you won’t need to water so often.

Water Conservation Tips National Geographic
30 Water Conservation Tips
On average, a vegan, a person who doesn’t eat meat or dairy, indirectly consumes nearly 600 gallons of water per day less than a person who eats the average American diet.
If you use a low-flow showerhead, you can save 15 gallons of water during a 10-minute shower.

Take the 100-Gallon Challenge! University of Nebraska-Lincoln
20 Water Conservation Facts
Install drip irrigation for flowers, fruit and vegetables.
Replace a portion of your lawn with drought tolerant perennials and groundcovers.

100 Ways to Save Water MJSI Inc
100 Water Conservation Tips
Put food coloring in your toilet tank. If it seeps into the toilet bowl, you have a leak.
While fertilizers promote plant growth, they also increase water consumption. Apply the minimum amount of fertilizer needed.

5 cheap ways to save 1,000 gallons of water CNN
5 Water Conservation Tips
Check your lawn on a schedule instead of automatically watering. Here’s a quick test: step on a patch of grass. If it springs back, it doesn’t need watering.

17 Water Conservation Tips and Tricks The Water Project
17 Water Conservation Tips
Lawns and gardens require only 5 millimeters of water per day during warm weather. Less is needed during spring, fall, or cool weather.
Do not over-water in anticipation of a shortage. Soil cannot store extra water.

Thirty-five Water Conservation Methods for Agriculture, Farming, and Gardening Big Picture Agriculture
35 Water Conservation Tips
Drip irrigation conserves 50 to 70 percent more water than traditional methods while increasing crop production by 20 to 90 percent.
Using black plastic mulch and organic mulches can save 25 percent in water requirements.

Saving Water – Tips for Commercial, Industrial and Institutional Water Use Home Water Works
16 Water Conservation Tips
Make sure all hoses are equipped with an automatic shut-off nozzle.
Adjust sprinklers so they are not spraying water on paved surfaces.

Saving Water – Tips for Residential Use Home Water Works
21 Water Conservation Tips
Composting food wastes saves water by reducing the water needed to run a garbage disposal.
Check water bills for any instances of high water use, as this may be an indication of a leak.

Water Saving Tips City of Garland
53 Water Conservation Tips
Never use the commode to dispose of cleansing tissues, cigarette butts or other trash. This can waste a great deal of water and also places an unnecessary load on your sewage treatment plant.

Tips for saving water inside your home Lower Colorado River Authority
11 Water Conservation Tips
When buying a new clothes washer, consider purchasing a water-saving model. Water saved: up to 40 gallons per load.

Office building checklist Southwest Florida Water Management District
47 Water Conservation Tips
Check the pressure. Where system pressure is higher than 60 psi, install pressure-reducing valves.

100 Ways to Save Water Loudoun County Sanitation Authority
100 Water Conservation Tips
Choose shrubs and groundcovers, instead of turf for hard to water areas such as steep slopes and isolated strips.
Make suggestions to your employer about ways to save water (and dollars) at work.

101 Ways to Save Water Paradise Irrigation District
101 Water Conservation Tips
Aerate your lawn. Punch holes in your lawn about six inches apart so water will reach the roots rather than run off the surface.
Bermuda grasses are dormant (brown) in the winter and will only require water once every three to four weeks or less if it rains.

A Short List of Effective Actions to Conserve Water at Home National Geographic
10 Water Conservation Facts
Install a soil moisture sensor to determine when to irrigate.

Water Conservation Tips Water Suburban Sanitary Commission
41 Water Conservation Tips
Keep pool level low to minimize splashing.
Thaw frozen food in your refrigerator, not under running water.

water faucet

Globally, the agricultural sector consumes about 70% of the planet’s accessible freshwater – more than twice that of industry (23%), and dwarfing municipal use (8%).


Agriculture wastes 60% or 1,500 trillion liters, of the 2,500 trillion liters of water it uses each year.

Agriculture is responsible for approximately 70 percent of water withdrawals, but 90 percent of the water consumption.

In Nairobi urban poor pay 10 times more for water than in New York.

Two-thirds of the world’s population is projected to face water scarcity by 2025, according to the United Nations.

Household leaks can waste more than 1 trillion gallons annually nationwide. That’s equal to the annual household water use of more than 11 million homes.


Landscaping accounts for about half the water Californians use at home.

Water withdrawals in four States — California, Texas, Idaho, and Florida — accounted for more than one-fourth of all fresh and saline water withdrawn in the United States in 2005.

Irrigation accounted for 85 percent of the 19,500 Mgal/d of water withdrawn in Idaho, and thermoelectric power accounted for 66 percent of the 18,300 Mgal/d withdrawn in Florida. (2005)

More than half (53 percent) of the total withdrawals of 45,700 Mgal/d in California were for irrigation, and 28 percent were for thermoelectric power.(2005)

From 2003-2005, the average water use for golf course irrigation in the U.S. was estimated to be 2,312,701 acrefeet per year. That equates to approximately 2.08 billion gallons of water per day for golf course irrigation in the U.S.

The average American uses 100 gallons of water per day or 320 gallons used every day by the average family.

Of the estimated 29 billion gallons of water used daily by households in the United States, more than 8.5 billion, or 30 percent, is devoted to outdoor water use.

In dry climates, a household’s outdoor water use can be as high as 60 percent.

It is estimated that the average American home consumes 58,000 gallons of water outdoors each year, mostly for irrigation.


A swimming pool naturally loses about 1,000 gallons (3,785 liters) a month to evaporation.

The average pool takes 22,000 gallons of water to fill.

The Las Vegas Strip accounts for just three percent of local water use, but 70 percent of the city’s water supply goes toward irrigating the 60-plus golf courses and the many residential lawns in the area.

Producing a gallon (3.79 liters) of corn ethanol, consumes 170 gallons (644 liters) of water in total, from irrigation to final processing. The water requirement to make a gallon of regular gasoline is just five gallons (19 liters).

Currently, the United States treats 70 percent of its wastewater, but only uses 4 percent of that amount.

A family of four can save 14,000 to 25,000 gal/yr by switching from conventional toilets to the newer, more efficient ones.

Overall, the world is using 9,087 billion cubic meters of water per year. China, India and the U.S. consumed the highest annual totals: 1,207 billion, 1,182 billion and 1,053 billion cubic meters, respectively.

The U.S. had the world’s highest per capita water footprint, at 2,842 cubic meters per annum.


90% – 95% of pool and spa water lost to evaporation can be saved by installing a pool cover.

A 7 mph wind at the surface of the pool can increase evaporation losses 300 percent.

Washing your vehicle at home can use up to 148 gallons of water or more for one washing. Self-service car washes use roughly 12 gallons per vehicle in desert regions.

A small lawn of 1,000 square-feet uses about 35,000 gallons of water per year. If the lawn is over-irrigated, as is common in many areas, it can use up to 75,000 gallons a year.


Turfgrass remains the single largest irrigated crop in the United States, with an estimated 5–10 million hectares (68.3% of the total) around private residences.

One broken sprinkler head could waste up to 25,000 gallons of water over a 6 month irrigation season.

More than half of the U.S. population (54%) lives in cities that have vulnerable water supplies.

Texas lost nearly $8 billion in agriculture in 2012 due to water shortages.

A small bag of peanut M&M’s requires 300 gallons of water to produce.

A person needs 20-50 liters (5.28-13.21 gallons) of water a day for basic needs.

Water scarcity already affects more than 40 percent of the people on the planet.

There will be about 1 billion more mouths to feed worldwide by 2025 and global agriculture alone will require another 1 trillion cubic meters of water per year (equal to the annual flow of 20 Niles or 100 Colorado Rivers).


In 2030, 47% of world population will be living in areas of high water stress.

Water withdrawals are predicted to increase by 50 percent by 2025 in developing countries and 18 percent in developed countries.

15% of the world’s total water withdrawals used for energy production.

Over the past 40 years the world’s population has doubled while water use has quadrupled.

There are an estimated 700 water main breaks per day on average in the United States.

30% of pipes in systems that deliver water to more than 100,000 people are between 40 and 80 years old.

An estimated 90% of the 3 billion people expected to be added by 2050 will live in developing countries, many in regions without sustainable access to safe drinking water.

1 pound of beef requires 1,799 gallons of water.


1 pound of pork requires 576 gallons of water.

1 pound of chicken requires 468 gallons of water.

1 pound of rice requires 449 gallons of water.

1 pound of wheat requires 132 gallons of water.

1 pound of goat requires 127 gallons of water.

1 pound of potatoes requires 119 gallons of water.

1 pound of corn requires 108 gallons of water.

The following resources provide excellent information about water conservation including facts, tips, and lessons.

Vector set of retro flat bannersWater Use Today
The WaterSense program of the Environmental Protection Agency provides a six-part guide to water conservation including information on American water usage statistics, challenges regarding water supply, and water efficiency.

Water Resources of the United States US Geological Survey
Learn all about water resources from this huge list of articles and videos from the US Geological Survey. Topics include groundwater, water quality, and water use.

Columbia Water Center
The Columbia Water Center designs sustainable models of water management and frequently publishes water conservation news on their Water Matters blog.

Water Conservation United States Department of Agriculture
The USDA’s hub for informational guides on water conservation topics including water conservation best practices for agriculture.

Water Conservation
This resource by The Department of the Environment in Maryland provides a water conservation factsheet and tips for conserving water at home.

Water Conservation In and Around the Home Colorado State University
This resource by Colorado State University provides facts on home water use efficiency and tips for saving water.

U.S. Water Supply and Distribution University of Michigan
A fact sheet by the Center for Sustainable Systems at University of Michigan with information about water use and supply.

Water Conservation – be water smart, not water short Department of Ecology Washington State
This resource explains the importance of water conservation and tips for saving water including using efficient products with the WaterSense label which are approximately 20% more efficient.

Arizona Department of Water Resources
Arizona’s Department of Water Resources provides ideas, tips, and resources for conserving water including The Layperson’s Guide to Arizona Water and best practices for agriculture water management.

UN Water Statistics
The United Nations provides a long list of water statistics at their site.

Why is it important to conserve water? Seminole County
This page explains the origin of the Floridan Aquifer and the dangers of taking too much water from the ground.

Water Conservation Tips for the Home Lawn and Garden University of California
This resource explains how to efficiently water your garden including limiting turf areas, avoiding extremes in soil pH, and selecting low water use plants.

Water Use it Wisely
A popular interactive resource providing nearly 200 tips for conserving water.

Conserve Water In And Around The Home University of Illinois
The University of Illinois provides 57 tips for conserving water at home.

50 Easy Ways to Save Water City of Charlottesville
The city of Charlottesville provides 50 tips for conserving water.

Water Conservation Tips The City of San Diego
The City of San Diego provides 24 tips for saving hundreds of gallons of water per week.

Save Water 49 Ways American Water
49 quick tips for saving water inside and outside the home.

15 Smart Ways to Save Water Popular Mechanics
Popular Mechanics provides several articles about how to reduce water use at home.

Division of Water Resources Conservation Project
Utah is the second driest state in the country and their water conservation webpage provides water conservation tips and articles about rainwater harvesting and waterless toilets.

Water Conservation Tips Indiana State Department of Health
Indiana state provides some quick facts about the biggest water wasters in the home and tips for reducing home water use.

Water IQ
A Texas government program to educate people on water conservation including informational literature for learning irrigation best practices, how farmers are dealing with drought, and water conservation tips.

Water Conservation Tips National Geographic
National Geographic provides information on why water conservation matters, interesting facts about water, and a water footprint calculator.

How to Conserve Water and Use It Effectively
This resource explains how residents can make small changes to their plumbing for large water savings over time.

Water Conservation
This resource contains several articles about the why and how of water conservation.

Project Wet provides several paid educational guides about water conservation that are intended for the classroom.

Top 25 Water Conservation Blogs Seametrics
A comprehensive list of the top water conservation blogs featuring commentary and news about current water topics.

Infographic: Why You Should Care About Water Conservation Seametrics
A popular infographic providing facts that explain why water conservation is important.

13 Interesting Talks About Water Seametrics
Several videos of informative and interesting talks about water conservation and water supply from leading experts in the field.

Water Conservation PBS
This guide by PBS is intended for students in grades 6-8 and provides videos and content about water conservation around the world, water treatment, and water supply.

International Water Management Institute
This site provides informational content on water management issues around the world including irrigation, groundwater, wastewater, and water storage.

A frequently updated blog focusing on California water news.

Hydrogeologist and professor Michael E. Campana, writes informative commentary on water issues, groundwater, water availability, and more.

An interactive website that provides tips for saving water in different parts of the home.

World Water Day
Roughly 75% of all industrial water withdrawals are used for energy production. Observed on March 22nd, World Water Day has the goal of raising awareness of water and energy issues. The website provides educational materials including a facts and figures page.

How To Save Water Grace Communications
This resource center provides several articles about saving water including ways to save water in your food and water saving tips for the outdoors.

If you would like to add a recommendation for a water conservation resource, let us know in the comments below.