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Water withdrawal and consumption estimates for thermoelectric power plants in the United States, 2015


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Harris, M.A., and Diehl, T.H., 2019, Water withdrawal and consumption estimates for thermoelectric power plants in the United States, 2015: U.S. Geological Survey data release,


This dataset presents water withdrawal estimates, consumption estimates, and associated information for 1,122 water-using, utility scale thermoelectric power plants in the United States for 2015. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) developed models to estimate thermoelectric water use based on linked heat-and-water budgets, including thermodynamically plausible ranges of minimum and maximum withdrawal and consumption, to provide a consistent method for water-use estimation across the fleet of U.S. thermoelectric plants. Historically, thermoelectric water withdrawal and consumption has been estimated by the Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration (EIA) based on surveys of plant operator-reported data and the USGS's 5-year [...]


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“model input data”
528.85 KB
“model input data”
552.79 KB
“withdrawal and consumption estimates”
133.3 KB
“withdrawal and consumption estimates”
129.16 KB
Original FGDC Metadata

66.83 KB


The need for reliable estimates of the amount of water withdrawn and consumed by thermoelectric power plants is garnering increased attention due to the Nation’s growing demand for water and energy. Water withdrawals for thermoelectric power generation are the largest category of water withdrawals in the United States (Dieter and others, 2018), and water consumption represents a small but substantial share of total U.S. water consumption especially at smaller spatial scales (i.e., watersheds, counties). Reported and estimated thermoelectric water withdrawals and consumption vary among Federal datasets. The USGS models provide independent estimates from plant operator-reported data and a consistent method for estimating water use across the fleet of U.S. thermoelectric plants.

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DOI doi:10.5066/P9V0T04B

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