More than 10.3 billion gallons of water are withdrawn each day from the lakes, rivers, streams, estuaries and groundwaters of New York State for uses that include domestic consumption, industrial use, agricultural, golf course irrigation, mining and thermoelectric power generation. Thermoelectric power is by far the most significant of all water use categories, accounting for more than 68% of total water withdrawn. Public water supply accounts for more than 20%.
Agricultural water use comes to 3.7% of state-wide water use. Industrial water use accounts for 4.3% of water use in the state.
Community water supply systems throughout the state withdraw, treat and distribute water for domestic, municipal, commercial and some industrial uses. In New York, community water supply systems serve 90% of the state population. The largest 10% of these systems supply water to more than 95% of New York State residents in the larger urban and suburban areas. This includes the majority of New York City residents, whose 1.1 billion gallon per day water supply is drawn from a series of reservoirs located upstate in Delaware, Sullivan, Schoharie, Greene and Ulster counties. The vast majority of the community water systems in the state, however, are rather small with each serving on average only a few hundred people. People not served by community systems are self-supplied; virtually all of the self-supplied population relies on groundwater withdrawals from their own wells. In all, nearly 30% of New York State's population depends on groundwater, including much of the population of Long Island.
In addition to these consumptive uses, the water resources of New York State also support numerous exceptional recreational activities for state residents and tourists alike. Swimming, fishing and boating opportunities abound throughout the state. More than 100 state parks and forests - including the six-million acre Adirondack Park and 650,000 acre Catskill Park and Forest Preserves - feature various forms of water recreation. The state offers a variety of public beaches, from the sandy shores of the Atlantic Ocean and Long Island Sound, to the clear, cool lakes of the Adirondacks, scenic beauty of the Finger Lakes area, or majesty of the Great Lakes. Boating on the extensive Erie Barge Canal System, and canoeing or rafting outings through forested wilderness areas are also popular outdoor pastimes.
|Water Use Category||Average Day Withdrawal (MGD)||
Percentage of Total
|Golf Course Irrigation||17||0.1|
|Fossil Fuel Power||3707||35.7|
|Public Water Supply||2117||20.4|
Water Resources data is from actual 2011 water use reports submitted to NYSDEC under the Water Withdrawal Reporting program.
Water Conservation Requirements for Water Withdrawal Permits
All applications for water withdrawal permits require a Water Conservation Program to demonstrate an applicant's water conservation and efficiency measures. These must be environmentally sound, economically feasible and minimize inefficiencies and water losses. For more information, please visit the Water Conservation Requirements webpage.
More about Water Conservation:
- Certification Information For NYS Water Saving Plumbing Fixtures Law - Regulations codify federal water conservation flow standards and require test procedures and certification information on faucets, shower heads, water closets and urinals
- Saving Water Makes Good Sense - Information on water conservation
- Water Conservation Manual - Each public water supply applicant must document the local water conservation measures taken and those measures planned for future implementation.