The importance of fresh water
Fresh water is essential for the survival of living things. We use water for drinking, for bathing, and for irrigating crops. In the United States as a whole, some 40% of freshwater use is for irrigation.
Many industries require large amounts of water. In fact, almost half the water use in the United States goes to the production of electrical power. Power plants often produce power with steam-driven turbines, and also use cold water to cool the power-producing equipment. Food, paper-producing, and chemical industries are also big water users.
Fresh water in the form of lakes and rivers is also used for recreation, which benefits the local economy.