Wisconsin cities, businesses, industries and agricultural operations were among the state’s largest users of water in 2017, pumping more than 1.9 trillion gallons of groundwater and surface water, according to a Department of Natural Resources report.
The state’s sixth annual water-use report tallies how many gallons were pumped by municipal water systems, agricultural operations, utilities and other sources that have the capacity to pump more than 100,000 gallons of water a day from groundwater, lakes or rivers.
Of the total groundwater and surface-water use in 2017, 77 percent was for power generation, according to the report. Overall water use in Wisconsin was 4 percent higher in 2017 than in 2016 due to an increase in power generation and municipal water supply use.
Wisconsin’s water-use reporting requirements are part of the Great Lakes Compact, a 10-year-old agreement between the Great Lakes states and Canadian provinces to collectively manage water quantity in the Great Lakes basin.
“One of the successes of the Compact has been the ability to track water withdrawals throughout Wisconsin and the Great Lakes Region, improving our understanding of water use across the region and its impact on the Great Lakes,” said Adam Freihoefer, the DNR’s water-use section chief. In 2017, Wisconsin achieved a 96 percent reporting rate from the 14,300 registered water-withdrawal sources, with 78 percent reporting online.