Water Usage: What and Where?
How much water do we use, and for what? Water “permeates” almost every aspect of our lives (no pun intended!). Some uses of water are obvious – for example, municipal and domestic supply used for drinking, cleaning, flushing and watering. Others are less obvious, such as water used for irrigation to grow produce, grains, or feed. The water needed to raise livestock is one step further removed, since the water “used” to produce the product includes the water that must go into growing feed. Yet other uses of water are even less visible, for example for refining fuels, cooling for thermo-electric power generation, and the manufacturing of almost everything in our day-to-day lives.;
Because the types and scales of water use vary widely – from domestic wells that pump at a few gallons per minute, to allocations of major rivers in billions of gallons, the units of measurement used for water management also span an enormous range (see Units).