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How Much Water Does the National Park Service Use?

Wellhead at Fort Bowie National Historic Site, Arizona
Wellhead at Fort Bowie National Historic Site, Arizona (NPS, 2008).

Consumptive use of water is the difference between the amount of water removed from a source of water for use and the amount returned to the source. Examples of consumptive use include water consumed at homes, factories, and farms.

The National Park Service diverts surface waters or withdraws groundwater for consumptive use only when diversion or withdrawal is absolutely necessary for the use and management of the park. All water diverted or withdrawn and not consumed in domestic or administrative uses is returned to the park watershed system to ensure that there will be very little or no impairment of park resources.

Water is used at visitor centers, maintenance yards, offices, and residences; and for watering grounds, fire-fighting, re-vegetation, construction, fire-fighting, dust abatement, etc.

Last Updated: December 13, 2012