Nebraska Water Science Center
Water Use in Nebraska, 2005
Water is one of the most important of Nebraska's natural resources. Water is not only a vital component of human existence, it is critical to the overall quality of life. In order to protect and preserve this resource for future generations, we must have a baseline of information to make decisions. Decision and policy makers must know the answers to three fundamental questions: where is the water used, how it is used, and how much is used. These Web pages detail the overall withdrawals of groundwater and surface waters that occurred in Nebraska in 2005 and represent a collaborative effort between the USGS and the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources
Water use in Nebraska was about 12,604 million gallons per day (Mgal/d) during 2005. Estimates of withdrawals by source indicate that total groundwater withdrawals were about 7,712 Mgal/d (61 percent of the total withdrawals) and the remaining 4,892 Mgal/d (39 percent) were from surface water.
Almost three-fourths of surface water withdrawals was used for once-through cooling water for thermoelectric power plants, and when that water and all other withdrawals for thermoelectric is are excluded, water use in Nebraska was about 9,055 million gallons per day (Mgal/d) during 2005. Estimates of withdrawals by source, excluding thermoelectric, indicate that groundwater withdrawals were about 7,704 Mgal/d (85 percent of the total withdrawals) and the remaining 1,351 Mgal/d (15 percent) were from surface water.
Water Use, by Category, in Nebraska in 2005
More groundwater than surface water was withdrawn for the public supply, domestic, irrigation, livestock, and industrial categories. For aquaculture, mining, and thermoelectric power, more surface water was withdrawn. During 2005, estimated total withdrawals by category and in descending order were: irrigation, 8,460 Mgal/d, thermoelectric power, 3,549 Mgal/d; public supply, 330 Mgal/d; livestock, 108 Mgal/d; aquaculture, 83 Mgal/d; domestic, 52 Mgal/d, industrial, 11 Mgal/d; and mining, 10 Mgal/d. Figures may not sum to totals because of independent rounding.