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Water and the Economy: Industrial Use, Irrigation and Aquaculture

Monday, July 01, 2013

Welcome back to the SureAqua series, Water and the Economy: How Water Fuels Your World. In this article we will be wrapping up the explorative attempt to decipher the United States biggest users of water, with the end goal being to pinpoint how this consumption benefits the nation in terms of revenue and job creation.

In a day and age where the precious resource of water is more scarce than ever, we take you on a journey to discover just how much this consumption contributes to the well-being of the economy, ultimately exhibiting how important it is for the United States to ensure the conservation and protection of your water supplies.

Up to this point we have discussed the two largest consumers of water in the United States, namely the Thermoelectric Power industry and the Public Supply industry i.e. yourself. These two industries consumed a combined grand total of 611,000 million gallons per day, accounting for 70 percent of all water withdrawals nation wide.

These two sectors alone generated a total annual revenue in 2007 of $204,519,337 million. These stats and all the details surrounding these industry and our analysis can be read by viewing Water and the Economy: Thermoelectric Power and Water and the Economy: Public Supply, part two and three of the Water and the Economy series.

Where does all that water go to?

Now moving on to the topics at hand, we have to ask the question, how much water is consumed and what is the purpose of its consumption?

The Industrial sector comes in as the third highest consumer of water in the United states and for good reason. Nearly every product manufactured includes water at some point in the production process. Whether water is used in for such purposes as fabricating, processing, washing, diluting, cooling, or transporting a product, incorporating water into a product; or for sanitation needs; water comes in to factor at some point. For this reason the  Industrial sector was found to have consumed a total of 18,200 million gallons per day in 2005, as recorded and documented by the USGS Water Science School. This accounted for a total of 9 percent of the nations total withdrawals. The highest consuming states were, in ascending order, Texas, Indiana, Louisiana, ranging between 2000 and 3000 million gallons per day.

The Irrigation sector was the fourth highest consumer of water in the United states, clocking in a total withdrawal of 128,000 million gallons per day. This is used to feed the nations agriculture i.e. water crops that grow the produce, which features in your meals and on your dinner tables on a nightly basis. The highest consuming states are California, the nation's greatest source of fresh fruit and vegetables, Idaho and Colorado, consuming between 15 and 25,000 million gallons per day. 

Aquaculture is the fifth highest consumer of water in the United States, accounting for 2 percent of the nation's total water withdrawals in 2005. The total amount of water consumed by fish farms comes in at 8780 million gallons per day. Not all the water is in the ponds used to farm fillets though. Aquaculture also accommodates for restoration, conservation, or sport fishing.

What role does this play in the economy?

Manufacturing, as part of the Industrial industry, holds a massive value in the economy, as without water, these production processes would not be achievable. According to the United States Census Bureau, the total number of people employed by manufacturing businesses is 115,502,200, injecting a total of $5,808,900,111 per annum worth of employee payroll into the economy. The Irrigation industry employs a total of 196,804 citizens injecting $9,275,344 per annum into the economy in the form of payroll. Unfortunately "data on agricultural production industries are not included in Census Bureau programs" so the value economic importance of Aquaculture is not yet measurable. 

Based on the above findings as well as information presented in Water and the Economy: Thermoelectric Power and Water and the Economy: Public Supply, it is clear that if we were to no longer have access to water, our economy would suffer. It is for this reason, as well as being the focus of the next series of SureAqua articles, that we need to ensure the protection and conservation of United States water resource.

When looking into the matter is is clear that the United States is under more economical and environmental pressures than ever before, facing extreme water pressures that are effecting each and everyone of your lives in some form or the other.

For more detailed information on United States water withdrawals, you can follow this link to the Estimated Use of Water in the United States in 2005.

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