ESTIMATING WATER USE IN THE UNITED STATES

A New Paradigm for the National Water-Use Information Program

Committee on USGS Water Resources Research

Water Science and Technology Board

Division on Earth and Life Studies

National Research Council

National Academy Press
Washington, D.C.



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Estimating Water Use in the United States: A New Paradigm for the National Water-Use Information Program ESTIMATING WATER USE IN THE UNITED STATES A New Paradigm for the National Water-Use Information Program Committee on USGS Water Resources Research Water Science and Technology Board Division on Earth and Life Studies National Research Council National Academy Press Washington, D.C.

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Estimating Water Use in the United States: A New Paradigm for the National Water-Use Information Program NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, DC 20418 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. Support for this project was provided by the U.S. Department of Interior and U.S. Geological Survey under Cooperative Agreement No. 01HQAG0030. The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as necessarily representing the official policies, either expressed or implied, of the U.S. government. International Standard Book Number: 0-309-08483-0 Estimating Water Use in the United States: A New Paradigm for the National Water-Use Information Program is available from the National Academy Press, 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20418, (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet http://www.nap.edu. Cover: Conceptual landscape design provided by John M. Evans, U.S. Geological Survey. Copyright 2002 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America

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Estimating Water Use in the United States: A New Paradigm for the National Water-Use Information Program THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES National Academy of Sciences National Academy of Engineering Institute of Medicine National Research Council The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievement of engineers. Dr. Wm. A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.

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Estimating Water Use in the United States: A New Paradigm for the National Water-Use Information Program COMMITTEE ON U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY WATER RESOURCES RESEARCH DAVID R. MAIDMENT, Chair, The University of Texas, Austin KENNETH R. BRADBURY, Chair, Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey, Madison (through December 2000) A. ALLEN BRADLEY, University of Iowa VICTOR R. BAKER, University of Arizona, Tucson (through December 2000) ANA P. BARROS, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts (through December 2000) MICHAEL E. CAMPANA, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque (through December 2001) BENEDYKT DZIEGIELEWSKI, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale N. LEROY POFF, Colorado State University KAREN L. PRESTEGAARD, University of Maryland, College Park STUART S. SCHWARTZ, University of North Carolina DONALD I. SIEGEL, Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York VERNON L. SNOEYINK, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (through December 2001) MARY W. STOERTZ, Ohio University, Athens KAY D. THOMPSON, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri Staff WILLIAM S. LOGAN, Project Director ANITA A. HALL, Project Assistant Editor RHONDA BITTERLI

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Estimating Water Use in the United States: A New Paradigm for the National Water-Use Information Program WATER SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY BOARD1 RICHARD G. LUTHY, Chair, Stanford University, Stanford, California JOAN B. ROSE, Vice-Chair, University of South Florida, St. Petersburg RICHELLE M. ALLEN-KING, Washington State University, Pullman GREGORY B. BAECHER, University of Maryland, College Park KENNETH R. BRADBURY, Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey, Madison JAMES CROOK, CH2M Hill, Boston, Massachusetts EFI FOUFOULA-GEORGIOU, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis PETER GLEICK, Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security, Oakland, California JOHN LETEY, JR., University of California, Riverside DIANE M. McKNIGHT, University of Colorado, Boulder CHRISTINE L. MOE, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia ROBERT PERCIASEPE, Audubon, Washington, D.C. RUTHERFORD H. PLATT, University of Massachusetts, Amherst JERALD L. SCHNOOR, University of Iowa, Iowa City LEONARD SHABMAN, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg R. RHODES TRUSSELL, Montgomery Watson, Pasadena, California Staff STEPHEN D. PARKER, Director LAURA J. EHLERS, Senior Staff Officer JEFFREY W. JACOBS, Senior Staff Officer WILLIAM S. LOGAN, Senior Staff Officer MARK C. GIBSON, Staff Officer STEPHANIE E. JOHNSON, Consulting Staff Officer M. JEANNE AQUILINO, Administrative Associate ELLEN A. DE GUZMAN, Research Associate PATRICIA JONES KERSHAW, Study/Research Associate ANITA A. HALL, Administrative Assistant ANIKE L. JOHNSON, Project Assistant JON Q. SANDERS, Project Assistant 1   This study was planned, overseen, and supported by the Water Science and Technology Board.

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Estimating Water Use in the United States: A New Paradigm for the National Water-Use Information Program Preface Water use is the aspect of water science most intimately associated with human activity. Study of water use is vital to understanding human impact on water and ecological resources and to assessing whether available surface and groundwater supplies will be adequate to meet future needs. To Native Americans of the arid West, water is not a commodity to be used, not the source of life—water is life itself. Across the United States, the practices for collecting water use data vary significantly from state to state and vary also from one water use category to another, in response to the laws regulating water use and interest in water use data as an input for water management. However, many rich bodies of water use data exist at the state level, and an outstanding opportunity exists for assembling and statistically analyzing these data at the national level. This would lead to better techniques for water use estimation and to a greater capacity to link water use with its impact on water resources. This report is a product of the Committee on Water Resources Research, which provides consensus advice to the Water Resources Division (WRD) of the USGS on scientific, research, and programmatic issues. The committee works under the auspices of the Water Science and Technology Board of the National Research Council (NRC). The committee considers a variety of topics that are important scientifically and programmatically to the USGS and the nation and issues reports when appropriate. This report concerns the National Water-Use Information Program (NWUIP). The first national water use report published by the USGS appeared in 1950. The NWUIP itself began in 1978. The program operates continuously at the state or

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Estimating Water Use in the United States: A New Paradigm for the National Water-Use Information Program district office level, with a national summary integrating water use data from all the states produced every five years. The work of the USGS in this area is important to many individuals and agencies working in water-related and other fields. Users of water use data and information range from local consultants and municipalities to natural resource economists, and from academic institutions to federal agencies such as the Department of Agriculture and members of Congress. Groundwater and surface water hydrologists from the USGS also depend heavily on this information to complete their water balances of aquifers and river basins. Society’s ever-growing need to understand and effectively manage its water resources has recently converged with the development and popularization of new tools for mapping and data analysis—tools such as geographic information systems and global positioning systems. These developments make this an exciting time to consider the possibilities for new directions for a program that has served the nation well in the past, but needs some reorientation to continue to serve the nation. The committee heard the first presentations on this topic in October 1999. During the next 24 months, the committee met with numerous water-use experts from within and outside the USGS. The list of people who have helped us to formulate our ideas is long. Within the USGS, we are particularly grateful for the cooperation of the four regional water use specialists. Susan Hutson, Joan Kenny, Deborah Lumia, and Molly Maupin organized meetings, gave presentations, worked on collecting the data on state programs that appear in Appendix A and elsewhere, and answered numerous questions with patience and enthusiasm. Other USGS personnel who generously contributed their time and ideas include Bill Alley, Walt Aucott, Todd Augenstein, Nancy Barber, Jim Crompton, Scott Gain, Heidi Hadley, Bob Hirsch, Terry Holland, Marilee Horn, Pat Lambert, Gail Mallard, David Menzie, Bob Pierce, Eric Rodenburg, Greg Schwarz, Wayne Solley, Bill Templin, and Judy Wheeler. We also appreciate the contributions of the many individuals from local, state, and federal agencies, academia, and elsewhere who gave presentations and participated in discussion sessions. These individuals include Ron Abramovich, Rick Allen, William Barron, John Boland, Emery Cleaves, Betsy Cody, Zena Cook, David Draughon, Ken Frederick, Noel Gollehon, Tom Huntzinger, Lane Letourneau, Earl Lewis, and Joe Spinazola. Committee members then drafted individual contributions and deliberated as a group to achieve consensus on the content of this report. This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the NRC’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the NRC in making its published report as sound as possible and that will ensure the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review com-

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Estimating Water Use in the United States: A New Paradigm for the National Water-Use Information Program ments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: John Boland, Johns Hopkins University Peter Gleick, Pacific Institute Noel Gollehon, U.S. Department of Agriculture Thomas Huntzinger, Kansas Department of Agriculture Marvin Jensen, Colorado State University (retired) William Jury, University of California, Riverside Scott Matyac, California Department of Water Resources Joan Rose, University of South Florida Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Sandra Postel, Director, Global Water Policy Project. Appointed by the National Research Council, Ms. Postel was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution. The committee wishes also to acknowledge the fine support and assistance that have been provided by Will Logan and Anita Hall of the Water Science and Technology Board staff. Will and Anita have organized our meetings very well, and done a great deal of work to transform a report manuscript into a final polished report. We want to acknowledge their contributions to the technical content of the report, but more than this, to express our appreciation on a personal level for their many contributions to the functioning of our committee. We do not intend for this report to be seen as the “last word” in water use. Rather, it is hoped that the ideas generated in this report will stimulate further discussions, which need to take place not only within the USGS, but also with congressional staff, state and federal agencies, and other generators and users of water use data and information. We trust that these discussions will lead to new and better ways to integrate water use science into the human and natural world. David R. Maidment, Chair Committee on USGS Water Resources Research

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Estimating Water Use in the United States: A New Paradigm for the National Water-Use Information Program Contents     EXECUTIVE SUMMARY   1 1   INTRODUCTION   10      Statement of Task: Review of the National Water-Use Information Program,   10      Conceptual Framework,   11      Definitions of “Water Use” And Related Concepts,   13      Outline of the Report,   14 2   THE NATIONAL WATER-USE INFORMATION PROGRAM: PAST AND PRESENT   16      History of Water-Use Information Programs at the USGS,   17      Should the USGS Continue to Administer the Program?,   21      Challenges Faced by the Current Program,   24      State Water Use Data Collection Programs,   29      Survey Questions,   30      Survey Results,   30      Water Registers and Permits,   31      Township-Range-Section Coordinates,   32      State Water Use Data Collection Categories,   33      Conclusions and Recommendations,   35 3   WATER USE DATA AND THEIR APPLICATION   36      The Need for Water Use Data,   36      Categories of Water Use and Withdrawals,   37

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Estimating Water Use in the United States: A New Paradigm for the National Water-Use Information Program      Metadata and Uncertainty,   42      Value of Data at Various Scales of Space and Time,   45      State-Level Water Use Data: The Arkansas Case Study,   46      River Reaches,   59      National Water Use Data: Federal Site-Specific Databases,   63      Conclusions and Recommendations,   67 4   OVERVIEW OF WATER USE ESTIMATION   68      Direct Estimation,   69      Indirect Estimation,   73      Input–Output Tables and Materials Flow Analysis,   81      Conclusions and Recommendations,   85 5   STRATIFIED RANDOM SAMPLING TO ESTIMATE WATER USE   86      Stratified Random Sampling Methodology,   87      Example: Development of a Sampling Plan for Arkansas,   89      Substrata Delineation,   92      Application to States That Lack Water Use Data,   95      Issues for Further Research,   96      Conclusions and Recommendations,   97 6   REGRESSION MODELS OF WATER USE   100      National Water Use Data,   100      Water Use Relationships,   102      Weather Normalization of Water Use,   103      State-Level Models of Public Supply Withdrawals,   103      State-Level Models for Thermoelectric Withdrawals,   110      Conclusions and Recommendations,   113 7   A VISION FOR THE NWUIP   115      Requirements for Any National Program of Water Use Estimation,   115      Goals of the NWUIP,   116      Conceptual Framework for the NWUIP,   117      The Natural and Infrastructure Water Systems,   119      A Hierarchical Water Use Data Structure,   123      Conclusions and Recommendations,   128 8   INTEGRATIVE WATER USE SCIENCE   130      Synthesis of Water Flow, Water Use, Land Use, and Water Quality,   131      Sources of Water-Quality Data for an Expanded NWUIP,   132      Estimating Instream Flow for Ecological Needs,   136

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Estimating Water Use in the United States: A New Paradigm for the National Water-Use Information Program      Assessing the Relevance of Water Use Information in Determining Instream Water Availability,   140      Conclusions and Recommendations,   142 9   CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS   143     REFERENCES   150     ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS   155 APPENDIX A   Narrative Description of State Water Use Data Collection Programs   159 APPENDIX B   Biographical Sketches of Committee Members   173

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