From: [log in to unmask]
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Diane M
Sent: Friday, May 23, 2008 12:07 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: USGS News Release: How Much Water is Lost in the Great Lakes
U.S. Department of the Interior
U.S. Geological Survey
Date: May 22, 2008
Kimberly H. Shaffer 614-430-7781
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How Much Water is Lost in the Great Lakes Basin?
Reporters: Water-use photos are available at:
< http://oh.water.usgs.gov/Consumptive_Water-Use.htm >
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 water use.
"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with total water withdrawn from the Great Lakes basin," said Kimberly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total water withdrawn for irrigation, 70-100 percent was lost to the
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
This study is relevant to the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin
Sustainable Water Resources Agreement, an agreement between eight states
and two Canadian provinces that would prohibit major diversions of water
beyond counties bordering the basin.
"We are pleased that the USGS has compiled this consumptive water use
information in one report. It will be a great resource for
water-resources managers and planners in the Great Lakes," said David
Naftzger, Executive Director of the Council of Great Lakes Governors.
"There can be a large range in consumptive use numbers in a single
water-use category, and the USGS has presented the information in a way
that provides an improved understanding of how water is being used and
consumed in the region."
For this report USGS compiled, mapped, graphed, and statistically
analyzed consumptive water use numbers from more than 100 sources as a
starting point for facility managers, water managers, and scientists in
determining the amount of water consumed in seven water-use categories:
domestic and public supply, industrial, electric power, irrigation,
livestock, commercial, and mining.
For comparison purposes, consumptive use information for basins and
states that have climates similar to the Great Lakes basin are included
in the report. Methods for computing and estimating consumptive use are
also presented, as is an extensive bibliography.
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:
USGS provides science for a changing world. For more information, visit
Media Relations, Eastern Region
U.S. Geological Survey
150 National Center
Reston, VA 20192
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