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California Water Science Center

California Water Use, 2010

Withdrawal estimates for each category represent the total amount of water removed from the water source, regardless of how much of that total is consumptively used. In most cases, some fraction of the total withdrawal will be returned to the same or a different water source after use and is available for other withdrawals.


Total Withdrawals

In 2010, Californians withdrew an estimated total of 38 billion gallons of water per day, compared with 46 billion gallons per day in 2005.

  • Surface water withdrawals in California were 25 billion gallons per day (67%), compared with 35 billion gallons per day (76%) in 2005.
  • Groundwater withdrawals accounted for 13 billion gallons per day (33%), compared with 11 billion gallons per day (24%) in 2005.
  • About 82% of all California water withdrawals were from fresh-water sources, compared with 72% in 2005.
    • In both 2005 and 2010, about 74% of all fresh water withdrawals were for irrigation.
    • 95% of all saline water withdrawals were for thermoelectric power generation, compared with 98% in 2005.

Withdrawals by Category

38 billion gallons of water withdrawals per day were distributed among 8 categories:

The 58 counties in California use differing proportions of water sources in the 8 (or less) categories.


Download the Data


Data Source:
URL: http://ca.water.usgs.gov/water_use/index.html, This webpage can be found using the following digital object identifier (DOI): doi:10.5066/F7KD1VXV

Infographic displaying 2010 California water use data. It includes a clickable map of California counties. link to additional San Diego County water use data link to additional Los Angeles County water use data link to additional San Luis Obispo County water use data link to additional Fresno County water use data link to additional Yuba County water use data link to additional Yolo County water use data link to additional Ventura County water use data link to additional Tuolumne County water use data link to additional Tulare County water use data link to additional Trinity County water use data link to additional Tehama County water use data link to additional Sutter County water use data link to additional Stanislaus County water use data link to additional Sonoma County water use data link to additional Solano County water use data link to additional Siskiyou County water use data link to additional Sierra County water use data link to additional Shasta County water use data link to additional Santa Cruz County water use data link to additional Santa Clara County water use data link to additional Santa Barbara County water use data link to additional San Mateo County water use data link to additional San Joaquin County water use data link to additional San Francisco County water use data link to additional San Bernardino County water use data link to additional San Benito County water use data link to additional Sacramento County water use data link to additional Riverside County water use data link to additional Plumas County water use data link to additional Placer County water use data link to additional Orange County water use data link to additional Nevada County water use data link to additional Napa County water use data link to additional Monterey County water use data link to additional Mono County water use data link to additional Modoc County water use data link to additional Merced County water use data link to additional Mendocino County water use data link to additional Mariposa County water use data link to additional Marin County water use data link to additional Madera County water use data link to additional Lassen County water use data link to additional Lake County water use data link to additional Kings County water use data link to additional Inyo County water use data link to additional Imperial County water use data link to additional Humboldt County water use data link to additional Glenn County water use data link to additional El Dorado County water use data link to additional Del Norte County water use data link to additional Contra Costa County water use data link to additional Colusa County water use data link to additional Calaveras County water use data link to additional Butte County water use data link to additional Amador County water use data link to additional Alpine County water use data link to additional Alameda County water use data link to additional Kern County water use data Link to additional information about water use in aquaculture Link to additional information about the Domestic Supply water use category Link to additional information about water use and livestock Link to additional information about water use in the industrial sector Link to additional information about water use in the mining industry Link to additional information about the Domestic Supply water use category Link to additional information about water use and livestock Link to additional information about water use in mining operations Link to additional information about water use in aquaculture Link to additional information about water used for irrigation Link to additional information about water used for public supply Link to additional information about the Thermoelectric water use category Link to additional information about water use in industry

INDUSTRIAL


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.

Image of a computer chip.

Oil refinery along the 405 Freeway in Torrance, California. Photo Credit: Chris Fore, Los Angeles, CA.

THERMOELECTRIC


Water for thermoelectric power is used in generating electricity with steam-driven turbine generators. One by-product of thermoelectric facilities is heat from the power-production equipment. The majority of the water used in thermoelectric power generation is for cooling the equipment, thus plants are often located alongside rivers and other water bodies.

Aerial image of Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Station.

Moss Landing Power Plant, Moss Landing, California. Photo Credit: David Monniaux, Copyright © 2007.

DOMESTIC SUPPLY


Domestic water use is for indoor household purposes such as drinking, food preparation, bathing, washing clothes and dishes, flushing toilets, and outdoor purposes such as watering lawns and gardens. Domestic water use includes potable and non-potable water provided to households by a public water supplier (domestic deliveries) and self-supplied from wells or other private sources.

Domestic groundwater well.

Domestic groundwater well in Napa Valley, CA.

LIVESTOCK


Livestock withdrawals include water for livestock watering, feedlots, dairy operations, and other on-farm needs. Types of livestock include dairy cows and heifers, beef cattle and calves, sheep and lambs, goats, hogs and pigs, horses and poultry.

Cows in a feedlot.

Cows on a feedlot in California's Central Valley.

PUBLIC SUPPLY


Public supply refers to water withdrawn by public and private water suppliers that provide water to at least 25 people or have a minimum of 15 connections. Public-supply water is delivered to users for domestic, commercial, and industrial purposes, and also is used for public services, such as pools, parks, and firefighting.

Municipal groundwater well.

City of Stockton, CA municipal water well.

AQUACULTURE


Aquaculture water use is associated with raising organisms that live in water—such as finfish and shellfish—for food, restoration, conservation, or sport. Aquaculture production occurs under controlled feeding, sanitation, and harvesting procedures primarily in ponds, flow-through raceways, and, to a lesser extent, cages, net pens, and tanks. Aquaculture ponds, raceways, and tanks usually require the withdrawal or diversion of water from a ground or surface source. Most water withdrawn or diverted for aquaculture production is used to maintain pond levels and/or water quality. Water typically is added for maintenance of levels, oxygenation, temperature control, and flushing of wastes.

Trout at the Hot Creek Fish Hatchery

Trout at a the Hot Creek Fish Hatchery near Mammoth, CA.

IRRIGATION


Irrigation includes water applied by an irrigation system to assist crop and pasture growth, or to maintain vegetation on recreational lands such as parks and golf courses. Irrigation includes water that is applied for pre-irrigation, frost protection, chemical application, weed control, field preparation, crop cooling, harvesting, dust suppression, leaching of salts from the root zone, and conveyance losses.

Irrigation system watering a field of crops in California's Central Valley.

Crops being irrigated in California's Central Valley.

MINING


Mining water use is water used for the extraction of naturally occurring minerals including solids (such as coal, sand, gravel, and other ores), liquids (such as crude petroleum), and gases (such as natural gas). Also includes uses associated with quarrying, milling, and other preparations customarily done at the mine site or as part of a mining activity. Does not include water associated with dewatering of the aquifer that is not put to beneficial use. Also does not include water used in processing, such as smelting, refining petroleum, or slurry pipeline operations. These processing uses are included in industrial water use.

Spring Creek Reservoir near the Iron Mountain mining site.

Spring Creek Reservoir near the Iron Mountain mining site just north of Redding, CA.

San Diego County


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Los Angeles County


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San Luis Obispo County


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Fresno County


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Yuba County


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Alameda County


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Yolo County


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Ventura County


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Tuolumne County


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Tulare County


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Trinity County


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Tehama County


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Sutter County


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Stanislaus County


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Sonoma County


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Solano County


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Siskiyou County


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Sierra County


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Shasta County


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Santa Cruz County


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Santa Clara County


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Santa Barbara County


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San Mateo County


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San Joaquin County


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San Francisco County


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San Bernardino County


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San Benito County


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Sacramento County


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Riverside County


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Plumas County


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Placer County


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Orange County


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Nevada County


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Napa County


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Monterey County


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Mono County


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Modoc County


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Merced County


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Mendocino County


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Mariposa County


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Marin County


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Madera County


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Lassen County


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Lake County


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Kings County


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Inyo County


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Imperial County


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Humboldt County


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Glenn County


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El Dorado County


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Del Norte County


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Contra Costa County


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Colusa County


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Calaveras County


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Butte County


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Amador County


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Alpine County


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Kern County


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Water Unit Conversion

Result: