What Human Activity Uses The Most Water in the United States? Can You Guess What It Is?

what human activity uses the most water in united states

Water is important for life, and humans use it for different activities daily. However, one particular activity consumes more water than any other globally. It is not showering, cooking, or even drinking. It is agriculture.

This article explains all about what human activity uses the most water in the united states and the solutions that you can consider:


Looking at key figures, back in 2018, each American typically used about 80 gallons of water daily. However, in 2019, this number jumped by 20-25%, with each household using around 300 gallons each day.

Showers and toilets are the main culprits for water use. Should we find another way? One solution could be to control the water coming out of taps, limiting it to just 1 gallon per minute.

This trend is not just in the US; it is worldwide. In developed nations like the US, up to 80% of water is used for businesses and factories.

States such as California, Texas, and Florida use the most water per day. California, in particular, uses a lot for farming.

Also, the amount of freshwater used out of all water has dropped from 97% to 85% in the past 70 years. However, there is good news: since 1985, water use has decreased slightly each year by about 1 gallon per person in the US.

What human activity uses the most water in the united states

Agriculture uses about 70% of the world’s freshwater supply. Crops need a lot of water to grow, and irrigation systems deliver it directly to the fields. Irrigation is indeed the largest consumer of freshwater globally. It plays a crucial role in agriculture by providing the necessary water supply for crops to grow. Efficient water management in irrigation can significantly contribute to water conservation efforts.

Raising animals for food also requires significant water, not just for the animals to drink but also to grow the feed they eat. This massive water use affects our rivers, lakes, and underground aquifers. In some places, it leads to water scarcity.

What Can Be Done?

Farmers can adopt more water-efficient practices, like drip irrigation, which delivers water directly to the plant’s roots. Growing crops that require less water or are suited to the local climate can also help.

We, as consumers, can make choices that reduce our water footprint, like eating less meat or choosing products from sustainable sources.

How can we reduce industrial water usage?

To reduce water use in industries, it’s important to teach workers about saving water, check how much water is currently used, find and fix leaks, use better equipment that saves water, recycle water, and change how things are done to use water more wisely.

Doing these things can really help save water for the future.

Watering crops is not the only thing using a lot of water

while irrigation for agriculture is indeed the largest consumer of water, there are several other significant uses of water. Here is a simplified explanation:

About 15% of water is used domestically for drinking, cooking, bathing, washing dishes and clothes, and flushing toilets. Industries use water for different purposes, like manufacturing, cooling machinery, processing materials, and generating electricity. It accounts for nearly a quarter of global water use.

To maintain the health of natural ecosystems also requires substantial water, mainly in maintaining wetlands and rivers. Water is also used for recreational purposes, like swimming pools, water parks, and golf courses.


To understand which human activity uses the most water is the first step toward conservation. By making informed choices and supporting sustainable practices, we can ensure that there’s enough water for everyone, now and in the future.

Some FAQs

What human activity uses the most water in the united states?

Agriculture is the human activity that uses the most water worldwide, accounting for about 70% of global freshwater use.

Why does agriculture use so much water?

Agriculture requires large amounts of water for irrigation to grow crops and for watering livestock.

Can we reduce the water used in agriculture? 

Yes, by adopting water-efficient irrigation methods, growing drought-resistant crop varieties, and improving water management practices.

Does any other activity come close to agriculture in terms of water usage? 

Industrial processes and domestic usage also consume significant amounts of water, but agriculture remains the largest user.

How can individuals contribute to reducing water usage? 

People can contribute by using water-saving fixtures, reducing meat consumption, and supporting sustainable farming practices.