Water in the United States is used for myriad activities on a daily basis, such as for food (irrigation, aquaculture, livestock), energy (thermoelectric power or hydropower generation), and public water supply for domestic, commercial or industrial purposes. Yet, we lack an national accounting of how and where water is used on a temporal scale more frequent than every 5 years, and a spatial scale greater than county level. The “water data drought” in the U.S. and globally is one of the key barriers inhibiting our understanding of how the environment sustains society and how society alters the environment. The world’s best mesoscale water use dataset is the USGS Water-Use report (the so-called “water census”), which...
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