Potable water comprises only a small fraction of the total use of water in the United States, with the main uses of freshwater resources being agricultural (for example, irrigation, animal feeding operations) and industrial (for example, cooling towers) activities 1. These activities, in addition to medical ones (for example, hemodialysis, dental procedures), are commonly referred to as “other uses” of water.
Other Uses of Water Topics
Types, Contamination, Animal Feeding Operations, Resources...
Hydrotherapy tanks, Dialysis, Medical/Dental equipment...
Freshwater quality, Cooling Towers, Legionnaire’s disease...
Other Uses of Water Fast Facts
- Each year between 8,000 and 18,000 people are hospitalized with Legionnaire’s disease in the United States 2.
- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issues effluent guidelines and regulations that are technology-based and are developed for specific industrial categories 3.
- There are an estimated 238,000 Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) in the United States that produce nearly 500 million tons of manure 4.
- The National Water Quality Inventory (2000) reported that agricultural nonpoint source (NPS) pollution (from industrial and sewage treatment plants) is the leading source of water quality impacts on rivers and lakes and the second largest source of impairment to wetlands. It is also a major contributor to contamination of surveyed estuaries and ground water 5.
- Most healthcare facilities follow certain guidelines to ensure that water is safe for medical use during medical procedures.
The Many Uses of Water
Water can be used for direct and indirect purposes. Direct purposes include bathing, drinking, and cooking, while examples of indirect purposes are the use of water in processing wood to make paper and in producing steel for automobiles. The bulk of the world’s water use is for agriculture, industry, and electricity. The most common water uses include:
- Drinking and Household Needs
- Industry and Commerce
- United States Geological Survey. Estimated Use of Water in the United States in 2000: Total Water Use.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Legionellosis Resource Site: Patient Facts – Learn more about Legionnaires’ disease.
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Effluent Limitation Guidelines.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs).
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Protecting Water Quality from Agricultural Runoff. March 2005.