The USGS Water Science School
Water Science water-use pages
Categories of Use:
National Water Use Program
Information and Data
Aquaculture Water Use
As the label in the grocery store says, "Farm Raised Tilapia Fillets" are for sale. Yes, fish farming is big business and many people eat farm-raised fish and other seafoods. If you've never hear of fish farming, I must disappoint you and say that, no, fish are not farmed in the same manner as corn on stalks, but rather in large ponds.
Fish farming is only one aspect of aquaculture. Aquaculture water use is water associated with raising creatures that live in water—such as finfish and shellfish—for food, restoration, conservation, or sport. In many lakes, rivers, and reservoirs around the country, recreational fishermen enjoy catching fish that have been raised in fish ponds and released to natural waters. Aquaculture production occurs under controlled feeding, sanitation, and harvesting procedures primarily in ponds, flowthrough raceways, and, to a lesser extent, cages, net pens, and closed-recirculation tanks.
Aquaculture withdrawals for the Nation, 2005
During 2005, the estimated rate of freshwater withdrawn for aquaculture was 8,780 Mgal/d, or 9,840 thousand acre-feet per year, with surface water being the source of about 78 percent of the withdrawals. (All 2005 water use information is from the report Estimated use of water in the United States in 2005.) Much of the surface water was used for flow-through raceways and was returned to the environment after use. Aquaculture withdrawals were 2 percent of total National water withdrawals (4 percent when excluding thermoelectric power withdrawals).
Aquaculture withdrawals, by State, 2005
Idaho and North Carolina used the most water for aquaculture, about 40 percent of the total and about 50 percent of the surface-water withdrawals for aquaculture. The States of Alaska, Arkansas, Mississippi, California, Louisiana, and Idaho together accounted for 73 percent of the groundwater withdrawals for aquaculture.
The states that used the most water in 2005 for aquaculture needs were Idaho, North Carolina, Alaska, Oregon, California, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.
Aquaculture withdrawals by source and State, 2005
Aquaculture withdrawals by source and State, 2005.
Aquaculture water use, 2000
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