- How Much Water is Used for Agriculture?
- How Much Water is Used for Irrigation?
- How Much Water is Used for Livestock?
- How Much Water is Used for Aquaculture?
- How Much Water is Used for Other Agricultural Activities?
How much water is used for agriculture? It’s a question that’s been asked a lot lately, as the world’s population continues to grow and the demand for food increases. While it’s impossible to give a definitive answer, we can look at some of the latest data to get a better understanding of the issue.
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How Much Water is Used for Agriculture?
Agriculture is the number one consumer of water in the United States. It accounts for about 80% of the water used in the country. The amount of water used for agriculture varies depending on the type of crop and the growing region.
How Much Water is Used for Agriculture Globally?
It is estimated that agriculture globally accounts for 70% of all freshwater withdrawals. The majority of this water is used for irrigation. In the United States, it is estimated that irrigation accounts for approximately 80% of all water used in agriculture.
How Much Water is Used for Agriculture in the United States?
The United States uses about 140 billion gallons of water per day for irrigation, accounting for roughly one-third of the nation’s total water withdrawals. More than 80% of this water is used in western states, where drought and water shortages are common. In 2012, California alone used 34 billion gallons per day for irrigation, the most of any state.
Water used for irrigation can come from surface water sources, such as rivers and lakes, or groundwater sources, such as aquifers. About 60% of agricultural water withdrawals in the United States come from groundwater, while the remaining 40% come from surface water sources. However, irrigation accounts for a much larger share of surface water use than groundwater use—about 80% and 20%, respectively.
Withdrawals for irrigation have increased significantly since 1950 as a result of population growth and the expansion of irrigated acreage. Although withdrawals have increased, crop yields have also increased due to advances in irrigation technology and efficiency improvements. As a result, the amount of water applied to irrigated crops has remained relatively constant over time.
In 2014, U.S. farmers applied 133 billion gallons of irrigation water per day to their crops—only slightly more than they did in 1950 (when they applied 131 billion gallons per day). Despite increases in population and irrigated acreage, farmers today apply less than half an inch of irrigation water per day per acre on average—a significant decrease from the one inch that was applied in 1950
How Much Water is Used for Irrigation?
The amount of water used for irrigation has been on the rise due to the advancement of technology and the increase in demand for crops. The average irrigation rate in 2005 was 10% higher than in 2000. This increase in water usage is not sustainable and is having a negative impact on the environment.
How Much Water is Used for Irrigation Globally?
It is difficult to estimate the total amount of water used for irrigation globally because: 1) there is no centralized reporting system for irrigation water use and 2) irrigation practices vary significantly from region to region and even from farm to farm. A 2006 United Nations FAO report estimates that about 85% of the world’s crop production (600 million hectares) is grown under irrigation, with 67% of the irrigated area in Asia and 17% in Africa. The following table provides a breakdown of the estimated total irrigation water withdrawals by continent in 2000 (Falkenmark et al., 2003).
Continent Irrigation Water Withdrawals (km3/year)
North America 140
South America 54.5
Estimates of irrigation water withdrawals as a percentage of total freshwater withdrawals range from 33-50% (Vörösmarty et al., 2000). The estimates vary depending on the source and methodology used, but all suggest that a large portion of the world’s freshwater resources are used for agriculture. In terms of consumptive use (the water that is actually evaporated, transpired, or incorporated into a crop), estimates range from 22-33% (Vörösmarty et al., 2000).
How Much Water is Used for Irrigation in the United States?
Nearly all of the water used for irrigation in the United States comes from surface water, such as rivers and lakes. In 2010, about 157,000 farms in the United States used surface water for irrigation. Large farms using surface water for irrigation accounted for two-thirds of the total irrigation withdrawals in 2010.
In 2010, almost 69 percent of all withdrawals were fresh water—water that has a low concentration of dissolved solids, such as salts. The remaining 31 percent of withdrawals were saline water—water that has a high concentration of dissolved solids and is unsuitable for most uses without being treated. Of the total saline-water withdrawals, nearly all (99 percent) was seawater used by one power plant in Florida for cooling purposes.
How Much Water is Used for Livestock?
Most of the water used for agriculture is used for livestock. In the United States, it is estimated that approximately 34% of the water used for all purposes is used for livestock (including chickens, pigs, cattle, and sheep). In England and Wales, it is estimated that approximately 70% of the water used for all agricultural purposes is used for livestock.
How Much Water is Used for Livestock Globally?
The USGS estimates that globally, Livestock water consumption totaled 34 billion gallons per day in 2005. This number includes water used for drinking, feeding, and watering animals. In the United States, it is estimated that approximately 88% of the water used for all purposes on livestock farms is used for growing feed crops. The remaining 12% is used for animal consumption and other uses on the farm.
How Much Water is Used for Livestock in the United States?
The United States is the largest producer of meat in the world, and livestock (such as cattle, pigs, and chickens) account for a large portion of that production. In fact, it is estimated that livestock account for about 55% of the world’s total meat production.
The majority of the water that is used for livestock in the United States comes from surface water sources such as rivers and lakes. It is estimated that about 34% of the total water used for all purposes in the United States is used for livestock.
Surface water is not the only source of water for livestock; groundwater (from wells), municipal water supplies, and even treated wastewater can be used to provide water for animals. However, surface water is still the predominant source of water for livestock in the United States.
How Much Water is Used for Aquaculture?
Aquaculture is the farming of aquatic animals and plants, including fish, molluscs, crustaceans, and aquatic plants. It is a growing industry with an estimated production of 97.5 million tonnes in 2016, worth US$232.6 billion. Agriculture is the primary use of water in the United States, accounting for approximately 80% of the nation’s freshwater withdrawals.
How Much Water is Used for Aquaculture Globally?
Aquaculture, also known as fish farming, is the cultivation of aquatic animals or plants for food or other commercial purposes. It covers a wide range of species, including fish, mollusks, crustaceans, and echinoderms. Aquaculture is a rapidly growing industry and now provides about 50% of the world’s seafood.
Globally, farmed fish production has grown rapidly in recent years, reaching around 97 million tonnes in 2018. This is more than double the production in 2000 (44 million tonnes). The top ten countries accounting for more than 80% of total production in 2018 were China (61%), India (6%), Indonesia (5%), Bangladesh (4%), Viet Nam (3%), Norway (2%), Chile (2%), Japan (2%), the United States of America (1%) and Greece (1%). Together, these countries produced 94 million tonnes of farmed fish in 2018
While aquaculture can be done in both fresh and salt water environments, most farmed fish are produced in freshwater. In 2018, around 69% of global farmed fish production came from freshwater aquaculture, with carp accounting for the largest share (42%). Salmon was the second most important species group, with a production share of 15%.
How Much Water is Used for Aquaculture in the United States?
Water is critical to aquaculture, as it is to all farming. In the United States, according to the 2012 Census of Agriculture, 44 percent of farms reported using irrigation. Of these, 97 percent were in the West. Large-scale commercial fish farms tend to be found near large coastal cities, in part because of the proximity to markets for their product and in part because of the need for a reliable and affordable source of salt water.
Finfish and shellfish are harvested from both wild and farm-raised stocks. In 2012, aquaculture accounted for 47 percent of the world’s fish supply, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The FAO reports that fish farming currently provides employment for over 540 million people—roughly 10 percent of the world’s population engaged in fishing and aquaculture.
How Much Water is Used for Other Agricultural Activities?
The amount of water used for agriculture varies greatly from country to country. In the United States, for example, agriculture accounts for about 80% of the nation’s water usage, while in China it is only about 30%. The amount of water used for other agricultural activities, such as livestock, also varies greatly from country to country.
How Much Water is Used for Other Agricultural Activities Globally?
Globally, it is estimated that approximately 70% of the water that is withdrawn from freshwater sources is used for agricultural purposes, with the vast majority used for irrigated agriculture. In terms of the types of crops that are grown, it is estimated that over 60% of all water used for irrigation purposes globally is used to grow crops that are classified as cereals, such as wheat, rice, and maize.
In addition to the water that is used for irrigation, a large amount of water is also used for other agricultural activities such as livestock watering, aquaculture, and the growing of crops that are not irrigated. It is estimated that globally these activities account for approximately 30% of the water that is withdrawn from freshwater sources.
How Much Water is Used for Other Agricultural Activities in the United States?
Other agricultural activities, such as raising livestock, growing crops for biofuel, and producing fruits and vegetables, use much less water than irrigation. In the United States, these activities account for less than 5 percent of all water used for agricultural purposes.
Livestock production uses large volumes of water for watering animals and cleaning facilities. In the United States, livestock operations account for about 3 percent of the total water used for agricultural purposes.
Crop production for biofuel uses even less water than raising livestock. In fact, it takes about 10 times more water to produce a gallon of ethanol from corn than it does to grow a pound of corn grain itself. Producing a gallon of biodiesel from soybeans requires about 2.5 times more water than producing a pound of soybeans.
Fruit and vegetable production also uses large amounts of water—mostly for irrigation. Water use for fruits and vegetables in the United States accounts for approximately 1 percent of the total water used in agriculture.