Approximately nine billion gallons of water are withdrawn each day from the lakes, rivers, streams, estuaries and groundwaters of upstate New York (this excludes Nassau and Suffolk counties). Uses include public supply, thermoelectric power generation, agriculture, commercial/industrial, recreational and more.
Thermoelectric power is by far the most significant of all water use categories, accounting for about 59% of total water withdrawn. Public water supply accounts for the next largest use at 31%. Approximately five percent of water used is for industrial purposes. Agricultural water use comes to less than 1% of state-wide water use.
Water use data was calculated from 2021 water use reports submitted to DEC by all water withdrawers with the capacity to withdraw 100,000 gallons per day or more under the Water Withdrawal Reporting program. For a full sized version of the image to the right, please click it. A document containing charts for the years 2018 through 2021 (PDF) is also available.
Water Conservation Efforts
Water is a valuable limited resource that must be used efficiently in order to meet the challenge of supporting the varied and increasing water uses of New Yorkers. We use water for drinking, irrigation, producing electricity, cooking, manufacturing industrial products, cleaning, and more. Large and small users alike must take part in reducing their consumption of this vital resource. Conserving water saves energy and money, helps protect and preserve the environment, and helps meet future needs. The right margin of this page contains several links describing how to reduce our consumption of water and programs available to help foster that goal.
Water Conservation Requirements for NYSDEC Water Withdrawal Permits
All applications for water withdrawal permits require a Water Conservation Program to demonstrate an applicant's water conservation and efficiency measures. These must be environmentally sound, economically feasible and minimize inefficiencies and water losses. For more information, please visit the Water Conservation Requirements page where Water Conservation Manuals and forms are available.
Plumbing Fixture Requirements in New York State
Plumbing fixtures in New York State are regulated by Federal law, New York State Environmental Conservation Law (ECL), New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) Rule, and the Building and Plumbing Codes of New York State. Municipalities may have local requirements that are more strict.
|1.8 gpm (Gallons per minute)
|NYSERDA Final Rule 509.18
|Toilets (Water Closets)
|1.28 gpf (Gallons per flush)
|NYSERDA Final Rule 509.19, ECL 15-0314
|0.125 gpf (Gallons per flush)
|NYSERDA Final Rule 509.19
|Public Lavatory (Bathroom) Faucets
|0.5 gpm (Gallons per minute)
|NYSERDA Final Rule 509.13, ECL 15-0314
|Residential Lavatory (Bathroom) Faucets
|1.2 gpm (Gallons per minute)
|NYSERDA Final Rule 509.13
|Residential Kitchen Faucets
|1.8 gpm (Gallons per minute) (A 2.2 gpm temporary override switch is permitted for filling pots or similar activities)
|NYSERDA Final Rule 509.13
NYSERDA adopted the Appliance and Equipment Efficiency Standards on December 28, 2022 and they took effect on June 26, 2023.
There are some limited exceptions to these requirements, such as for public safety and health care facilities. For more information about these exceptions, please contact the Division of Water at [email protected] and include "Plumbing Fixtures" in the subject line.
Saving Water Makes Good Sense
We'll never know the worth of water 'till the well goes dry.
--18th century Scottish proverb