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Breakdown of water withdrawals worldwide 2017, by sector

Distribution of water withdrawals worldwide in 2017, by sector*

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Release date

August 2021

Region

Worldwide

Survey time period

2017

Supplementary notes

* Based on water withdrawals from municipal, industrial, and agricultural sectors. Manually calculated using country data available.

*Municipal water withdrawal - Annual quantity of water withdrawn primarily for the direct use by the population. It can include water from renewable freshwater resources, as well as water from over-abstraction of renewable groundwater or withdrawal from fossil groundwater, direct use of agricultural drainage water, direct use of (treated) wastewater, and desalinated water. It is usually computed as the total water withdrawn by the public distribution network. It can include that part of the industries and urban agriculture, which is connected to the municipal network. The ratio between the net consumption and the water withdrawn can vary from 5 to 15% in urban areas and from 10 to 50% in rural areas.

Industrial water withdrawal - Annual quantity of self-supplied water withdrawn for industrial uses. It can include water from renewable freshwater resources, as well as water from over-abstraction of renewable groundwater or withdrawal from fossil groundwater, direct use of agricultural drainage water, direct use of (treated) wastewater, and desalinated water. This sector refers to self-supplied industries not connected to the public distribution network. The ratio between net consumption and withdrawal is estimated at less than 5%. It includes water for the cooling of thermoelectric and nuclear power plants, but it does not include hydropower. Water withdrawn by industries that are connected to the public supply network is generally included in municipal water withdrawal.

Agricultural water withdrawal - Annual quantity of self-supplied water withdrawn for irrigation, livestock and aquaculture purposes. It can include water from renewable freshwater resources, as well as water from over-abstraction of renewable groundwater or withdrawal from fossil groundwater, direct use of agricultural drainage water, direct use of (treated) wastewater, and desalinated water. Water for the dairy and meat industries and industrial processing of harvested agricultural products is included under industrial water withdrawal.

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