Abstractions per capita for freshwater resources by key country 2017

This statistic displays the major OECD countries based on per capita freshwater abstractions or use in 2017 (or latest available year). During this time, Australia used about 703 cubic meters per capita per year. Abstractions indicate the water that was taken from ground or surface waters.

Freshwater resources in the United States and Canada

Freshwater use was among the highest in the United States and Canada, at 1,207 cubic meters per capita and 883 cubic meters per capita, respectively, in recent years. In the United States, a large majority of water is used for agricultural irrigation and for thermoelectric purposes, where water is used to cool electricity-generating equipment. Consumption of freshwater in the United States for the electricity sector has increased by almost 500 percent since the 1950s. A relatively small quantity is assigned to domestic use. Bottled water consumption has steadily increased in the country from 29 gallons per capita in 2007 to an estimated 42 gallons per capita in 2018.

Canada has one of the greatest renewable freshwater resources in the world, after Brazil and Russia. There are some 79,240 cubic meters of renewable water resources per capita available in Canada as of 2017. About nine percent of the country is covered in fresh water, totaling almost 900,000 square kilometers. There are over 550 lakes that have a surface area greater than 100 kilometers squared. In fact, more than half of the world’s lakes are located in Canada with an estimated two million lakes. The Great Lakes Basin, located along the Canadian and U.S. border, is the world’s largest freshwater lake system in the world.

Freshwater abstractions per capita in 2017, by select country (in cubic meters)*

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Worldwide, OECD

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Supplementary notes

* Figures are for 2017 or latest available data.
Water withdrawals, or water abstractions, are defined as freshwater taken from ground or surface water sources, either permanently or temporarily, and conveyed to a place of use. If the water is returned to a surface water source, abstraction of the same water by the downstream user is counted again in compiling total abstractions: this may lead to double counting. The data include abstractions for public water supply, irrigation, industrial processes and cooling of electric power plants. Mine water and drainage water are included, whereas water used for hydroelectricity generation is normally excluded

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Statistics on "Water"

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