How Much Water is Lost in the Great Lakes Basin?
Monday, May 26, 2008
Do you ever wonder how much of the water that we remove from
the Great Lakes for use in everyday products such as food, ethanol, household
chemicals or paper products, is not returned? Or what type of use is most
likely to cause these losses?
Information about these and other types of "consumptive" water use
for the Great Lakes basin can be found in a new U.S. Geological Survey
(USGS) report that will be used by water-resource managers and planners in the
Great Lakes as they develop policies to encourage efficient and sustainable
"We found that irrigation and livestock had the largest losses compared
with total water withdrawn from the Great Lakes basin" said Kimberly
Shaffer, hydrologist with the USGS and author of the report. "Of the total
water withdrawn for irrigation, 70-100 percent was lost to the basin"
The authors examined seven consumptive water-use categories: domestic and
public supply, industrial, electric power, irrigation, livestock, commercial,
and mining. Consumptive water use is water that is evaporated, transpired,
incorporated into products or crops, consumed by humans or livestock, or
otherwise removed from the immediate environment. It is usually reported as a
percentage of the amount of water withdrawn.
A fact sheet titled "Consumptive Water Use in the Great
Lakes Basin" by Kimberly H. Shaffer, is available at http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2008/3032/
The full report titled "Consumptive Water-Use Coefficients for the Great
Lakes Basin and Climatically Similar Areas" by Kimberly H. Shaffer and
Donna L. Runkle, is available at: http://pubs.usgs.gov/sir/2007/5197
The fact sheet and report are among a series of products by the U.S. Geological
Survey’s National Assessment of Water Availability and Use Program for
the Great Lakes Basin, a program designed to gain a clearer understanding of
water-use, land-use, and climatic trends in our Nation’s water resources.
More information is available at: http://water.usgs.gov/wateravailability/greatlakes
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109 E. Grand River Ave.
Lansing, Michigan 48906
tel: 517-484-2372 x12
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