Environment Database - Freshwater abstractions (million m3)
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This dataset shows the state and changes over time in the abstractions of freshwater resources.

Water abstractions are a major pressure on freshwater resources, particularly from public water supplies, irrigation, industrial processes and cooling of electric power plants. It has significant implications for issues of quantity and quality of water resources.

This dataset shows water abstractions by source (surface and ground water) and by major uses. Water abstractions refer to water taken from ground or surface water sources and conveyed to the 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 withdrawal.

When interpreting those data, it should be borne in mind that the definitions and estimation methods employed by Member countries may vary considerably among countries

Last updated: August 2019

Contact: ENV.Stat@oecd.org

Australia: 1985: public supply refers to the domestic sector. Data includes abstractions of non-freshwater, notably desalinated water, estimated at less than 1%

Canada: Agriculture 1980-1995: data exclude forestry and fishing

Chile: Only data on public supply is available. This data is based on the information that the sanitary companies provide for the areas where they provide their services

Czech Republic: The drop in total abstractions in 2013 is explained by the lower water abstraction for cooling for electricity production. Construction includes other industrial activities. For more information see http://voda.gov.cz/portal/en/

Denmark: For more information : http://www.dst.dk/ ; http://www.geus.dk/UK/water-soil/monitoring/groundwater-monitoring/Pages/default.aspx

Estonia: Production of electricity: up to 2001 data refer to total abstractions for electricity production (ISIC 35.1 Rev.4). Since 2001 data refer to the NACE activity 40.1, which means that part of the cooling water is allocated to the "other" category. Public water supply (surface water, 2000-2001): data include a high share of water use by manufacturing enterprises

France: Data refers only to metropolitan France (including Corsica); data for overseas territories is available since 2012 but is not included here. Data are estimated using calculations by river basin agencies of the fees due for water abstractions. Services: data exclude abstractions for maintaining navigability in water canals. For more information see http://www.statistiques.developpement-durable.gouv.fr/, http://geoidd.developpement-durable.gouv.fr/, http://www.hydro.eaufrance.fr/, http://www.statistiques.developpement-durable.gouv.fr/lessentiel/s/ressources-eau.htmlhttp://www.statistiques.developpement-durable.gouv.fr/publications/p/2669/1114/prelevements-deau-douce-france-grands-usages-2013-leur.html, http://www.bnpe.eaufrance.fr/ 

Germany: Totals up to 1998 exclude all agricultural uses except irrigation. From 2001 totals include mining and quarrying. Before 1991 data refer to western Germany only.

Greece: Break in series in 2016 due to a methodological change in calculating abstractions of surface water.

Hungary: Break in series in 2000: change in data source ("Water resources fee" database instead of the "Report on industrial water uses"). The large share of freshwater abstracted for electricity cooling is due to a nuclear power plant

Ireland: 1994:  estimates including 1980 data for electrical cooling. Break in series in 2005. The data is supplied by local authorities and the national water utility. Aquaculture: annual production for land-based sites only. These sites are close to the point of abstraction which are generally freshwater rivers (therefore groundwater abstraction is assumed to be zero). All water abstracted are discharged back to the source and generally located close to abstraction point. Water returned without use: the estimates reported only include the water returned from aquaculture. Annual drinking water report available at http://www.epa.ie/pubs/reports/water/drinking . Historic information on drinking water monitoring results and water supply details for each county (dating back to the year 2000) is available on the EPA's SAFER (Secure Archive for Environmental Research Data) web-page at http://erc.epa.ie/safer/resourcelisting.jsp?oID=10206&username=EPA%20Drinking%20Water 

Iceland: Public supply includes the domestic use of geothermal water. Since 1995 fish farming is a major user of abstracted water, explaining the change in the relative contribution of other sectors. Break in series in 2010: since 2010 the totals are partial and include only agriculture, industry and public water supply.

Japan: Public supply: data refer to households and service sector. Agriculture excludes forestry and fishing. Manufacturing industry includes electricity cooling

Korea: Public supply refers to the domestic sector only (households and the commercial sector, excluding the agricultural and industrial sectors). Agriculture includes only irrigation. Break in series in 2013: for groundwater the Jeju-do area has been included, and so data is not comparable to earlier years. For more information see: National Groundwater Information Center ( http://www.gims.go.kr/), Water Resources Management Information System (http://www.wamis.go.kr/).

Latvia: data are collected through a permit-based reporting system. Data is checked and validated but eventually published as reported, which can sometimes cause unexplained large fluctuations.

Lithuania: The large decrease in total abstracted water in 2010 is due to the decrease in the production of power stations: a power plant, using large amounts of water to cool its atomic reactors, has been closed. Public water supplied to small enterprises is reported as "total water used by industry" (NACE 10-45), and it cannot be broken down by sector.

Luxembourg: 1989: estimates including 1983 data for industry and electrical cooling. Agriculture includes only irrigation in 1995-1999. Further references: http://www.eau.public.lu/, http://www.statistiques.public.lu/stat/ReportFolders/ReportFolder.aspx?IF_Language=fra&MainTheme=1&FldrName=3&RFPath=66

Mexico: 2001 onwards: volumes of water granted in concessions (administrative figures, not collected data); prior data are estimates. "Manufacturing industry" figures refer to all industries (not only manufacturing) and include some services. Hydroelectricity generation includes in-situ uses (figures for individual uses are not available). Figures  are from administrative data and can be different from real water abstractions. For more information: http://www.conagua.gob.mx/ , http://www.gob.mx/semarnat/acciones-y-programas/sistema-nacional-de-informacion-ambiental-y-de-recursos-naturales

Netherlands: Before 1980 data include marine waters. Partial totals excluding all agricultural uses before 1990. Manufacturing industry in 1976 includes mining and quarrying. Surface water abstraction for construction refer to abstractions by the Environmental Services (NACE 37-39), which are relative large amounts, primarily used for cooling in waste incineration plants (NACE 38). For more information: http://statline.cbs.nl/Statweb/publication/?DM=SLNL&PA=82883NED&D1=a&D2=0,23,6,39,41&D3=a&VW=T , http://www.cbs.nl/nl-NL/menu/themas/natuur-milieu/publicaties/milieurekeningen/publicaties/archief/2014/2014-environmental-accounts-of-the-netherlands-2013-pub.htm

New Zealand: Data exclude storage water (dams and lakes). 2010 figures are based on an estimated water abstraction of 50% of water allocations. This is based on the average consumption in all regions excepting Southland, where the 16,000 m3 allocated to hydroelectricity - 60% of the total national allocation - skews the national average. Break in series in 2014 due to a new calculation method which does not use water allocation (consented). For further information, see http://www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/environment/environmental-reporting-series/environmental-indicators/Home/Fresh%20water/consented-freshwater-takes.aspx and https://data.mfe.govt.nz/table/53613-primary-use-and-source-of-consented-freshwater-takes-201314/

Poland: Totals include mining and construction water discharged without use. Data include abstractions for agriculture, which refer to aquaculture (areas over 10 ha) and irrigation (arable land and forest areas greater than 20 ha). Animal production and domestic needs of rural inhabitants are not covered (self-supply). Aquaculture: water abstraction for filling fishponds exceeding 10 ha. Industry cooling includes marine water. For more information, see: http://www.kzgw.gov.pl/ , http://www.pgi.gov.pl/ , http://www.psh.gov.pl/ , http://www.imgw.pl/

Portugal: Data do not include the Azores and Madeira. Irrigation: data estimated using mathematical models for calculating soil water balance. It is uncertain how much is abstracted from surface and from groundwater. The estimates reflect the characteristics of the soil and climate, reflected by specific coefficients of the mathematical model, and therefore care needs to be used in making comparisons. The recent decrease in public water abstractions is due to the effects  of the economic crisis and the consequent need for water savings and for a more efficient use. For more information see http://www.ine.pt/ (Statistics Portugal) and http://www.ersar.pt/  (Water and Waste Services Regulation Authority).

Slovak Republic: For more information see https://www.enviroportal.sk/indicator/detail?id=1761,  https://www.enviroportal.sk/spravy/index , http://www.shmu.sk/en/?page=1, https://www.enviroportal.sk/indicator/detail?

Spain: Before 2000 agriculture includes only irrigation. 1995 data do not refer to 1995, but represent an average hydrological year, except for those data referring to cooling of thermal and nuclear plants

Sweden: Irrigation: 1985-2004 estimates for dry year. For more information: http://www.scb.se/

Switzerland: For more information see http://trinkwasser.ch/index.php?id=767&L=1 , http://www.svgw.ch/index.php?id=178

Turkey: Break in series in 2008 for public water supply (before 2008 data refer to urban areas only). Totals: Estimates including data based on partial inventories, excluding agricultural uses besides irrigation and, until 1993, electrical cooling. Agriculture: irrigation only. Manufacturing industry and electrical cooling: data are based on partial surveys. 1993 data include abstractions by industry. 1991: partial totals for public supply include manufacture and industry cooling, whereas the grand total excludes them. 2005 and 2008: partial data including estimates based on previous year data for abstraction by industry and electrical cooling.

England and Wales: Series break in 1991 and 1999 (significant changes in reporting methods and classifications). Figures are therefore not strictly comparable with those in previous/intervening years. Data for 2014 refers to England only. Public water supply includes estimations. Agriculture and irrigation: Under the Water Act 2003 abstraction of less than 20m3/day became exempt from the requirement to hold a licence as of 1 April 2005. As a result over 22,000 licences were deregulated, mainly for agriculture or private water supply purposes. However, due to the small volumes involved this has had minimal effect on the estimated licensed and actual abstraction totals Estimates for irrigation are solely for spray irrigation. Return requirements, which set out the actual abstraction information requested from abstractors, were standardised across England & Wales from 1 April 2008. Returns are now requested on a financial year basis. Prior to April 2008 returns were either by calendar year or financial year. To account for this, data collection for 2008 was the subject of two requests. At the end of the period January 2008 to March 2008 and at the end of the period April 2008 to March 2009. This may have had the effect of underestimating actual abstraction.

OECD Total: Gross freshwater abstractions per capita, as percentage of total renewable resources and as percentage of internal resources are OECD Secretariat estimates. Data exclude Chile and the United Kingdom refers to England and Wales only

Colombia: The data presented for the different years are not comparable, given the different methodology applied and the database used. Production of electricity refers to the water demand for cooling by the thermoelectric sector, which does not include water demand for the generation of hydroelectricity. Amounts of water abstracted from surface and groundwater sources are estimated. Groundwater demand is estimated at 12% of total demand. For more information: http://www.ideam.gov.co/ , http://documentacion.ideam.gov.co/openbiblio/bvirtual/023080/023080.html

Costa Rica: The break in series in 2016 is due to the use of a more accurate data source (public water supply operators). Data includes only legally authorised abstraction (there is an unknown amount of water that is illegally abstracted). For more information see National Institute of Statistics and Census: http://www.inec.go.cr/, Directorate of Water: http://www.da.go.cr/, and National Meteorological Institute: http://www.imn.ac.cr/.

Brazil: The category "industry" refers to ISIC 10-33 categories

Environment Database - Freshwater abstractions (million m3)Variables collected

This dataset shows the state and changes over time in the abstractions of freshwater resources.

Water abstractions are a major pressure on freshwater resources, particularly from public water supplies, irrigation, industrial processes and cooling of electric power plants. It has significant implications for issues of quantity and quality of water resources.

This dataset shows water abstractions by source (surface and ground water) and by major uses. Water abstractions refer to water taken from ground or surface water sources and conveyed to the 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 withdrawal.

When interpreting those data, it should be borne in mind that the definitions and estimation methods employed by Member countries may vary considerably among countries

Last updated: August 2019

Contact: ENV.Stat@oecd.org

Australia: 1985: public supply refers to the domestic sector. Data includes abstractions of non-freshwater, notably desalinated water, estimated at less than 1%

Canada: Agriculture 1980-1995: data exclude forestry and fishing

Chile: Only data on public supply is available. This data is based on the information that the sanitary companies provide for the areas where they provide their services

Czech Republic: The drop in total abstractions in 2013 is explained by the lower water abstraction for cooling for electricity production. Construction includes other industrial activities. For more information see http://voda.gov.cz/portal/en/

Denmark: For more information : http://www.dst.dk/ ; http://www.geus.dk/UK/water-soil/monitoring/groundwater-monitoring/Pages/default.aspx

Estonia: Production of electricity: up to 2001 data refer to total abstractions for electricity production (ISIC 35.1 Rev.4). Since 2001 data refer to the NACE activity 40.1, which means that part of the cooling water is allocated to the "other" category. Public water supply (surface water, 2000-2001): data include a high share of water use by manufacturing enterprises

France: Data refers only to metropolitan France (including Corsica); data for overseas territories is available since 2012 but is not included here. Data are estimated using calculations by river basin agencies of the fees due for water abstractions. Services: data exclude abstractions for maintaining navigability in water canals. For more information see http://www.statistiques.developpement-durable.gouv.fr/, http://geoidd.developpement-durable.gouv.fr/, http://www.hydro.eaufrance.fr/, http://www.statistiques.developpement-durable.gouv.fr/lessentiel/s/ressources-eau.htmlhttp://www.statistiques.developpement-durable.gouv.fr/publications/p/2669/1114/prelevements-deau-douce-france-grands-usages-2013-leur.html, http://www.bnpe.eaufrance.fr/ 

Germany: Totals up to 1998 exclude all agricultural uses except irrigation. From 2001 totals include mining and quarrying. Before 1991 data refer to western Germany only.

Greece: Break in series in 2016 due to a methodological change in calculating abstractions of surface water.

Hungary: Break in series in 2000: change in data source ("Water resources fee" database instead of the "Report on industrial water uses"). The large share of freshwater abstracted for electricity cooling is due to a nuclear power plant

Ireland: 1994:  estimates including 1980 data for electrical cooling. Break in series in 2005. The data is supplied by local authorities and the national water utility. Aquaculture: annual production for land-based sites only. These sites are close to the point of abstraction which are generally freshwater rivers (therefore groundwater abstraction is assumed to be zero). All water abstracted are discharged back to the source and generally located close to abstraction point. Water returned without use: the estimates reported only include the water returned from aquaculture. Annual drinking water report available at http://www.epa.ie/pubs/reports/water/drinking . Historic information on drinking water monitoring results and water supply details for each county (dating back to the year 2000) is available on the EPA's SAFER (Secure Archive for Environmental Research Data) web-page at http://erc.epa.ie/safer/resourcelisting.jsp?oID=10206&username=EPA%20Drinking%20Water 

Iceland: Public supply includes the domestic use of geothermal water. Since 1995 fish farming is a major user of abstracted water, explaining the change in the relative contribution of other sectors. Break in series in 2010: since 2010 the totals are partial and include only agriculture, industry and public water supply.

Japan: Public supply: data refer to households and service sector. Agriculture excludes forestry and fishing. Manufacturing industry includes electricity cooling

Korea: Public supply refers to the domestic sector only (households and the commercial sector, excluding the agricultural and industrial sectors). Agriculture includes only irrigation. Break in series in 2013: for groundwater the Jeju-do area has been included, and so data is not comparable to earlier years. For more information see: National Groundwater Information Center ( http://www.gims.go.kr/), Water Resources Management Information System (http://www.wamis.go.kr/).

Latvia: data are collected through a permit-based reporting system. Data is checked and validated but eventually published as reported, which can sometimes cause unexplained large fluctuations.

Lithuania: The large decrease in total abstracted water in 2010 is due to the decrease in the production of power stations: a power plant, using large amounts of water to cool its atomic reactors, has been closed. Public water supplied to small enterprises is reported as "total water used by industry" (NACE 10-45), and it cannot be broken down by sector.

Luxembourg: 1989: estimates including 1983 data for industry and electrical cooling. Agriculture includes only irrigation in 1995-1999. Further references: http://www.eau.public.lu/, http://www.statistiques.public.lu/stat/ReportFolders/ReportFolder.aspx?IF_Language=fra&MainTheme=1&FldrName=3&RFPath=66

Mexico: 2001 onwards: volumes of water granted in concessions (administrative figures, not collected data); prior data are estimates. "Manufacturing industry" figures refer to all industries (not only manufacturing) and include some services. Hydroelectricity generation includes in-situ uses (figures for individual uses are not available). Figures  are from administrative data and can be different from real water abstractions. For more information: http://www.conagua.gob.mx/ , http://www.gob.mx/semarnat/acciones-y-programas/sistema-nacional-de-informacion-ambiental-y-de-recursos-naturales

Netherlands: Before 1980 data include marine waters. Partial totals excluding all agricultural uses before 1990. Manufacturing industry in 1976 includes mining and quarrying. Surface water abstraction for construction refer to abstractions by the Environmental Services (NACE 37-39), which are relative large amounts, primarily used for cooling in waste incineration plants (NACE 38). For more information: http://statline.cbs.nl/Statweb/publication/?DM=SLNL&PA=82883NED&D1=a&D2=0,23,6,39,41&D3=a&VW=T , http://www.cbs.nl/nl-NL/menu/themas/natuur-milieu/publicaties/milieurekeningen/publicaties/archief/2014/2014-environmental-accounts-of-the-netherlands-2013-pub.htm

New Zealand: Data exclude storage water (dams and lakes). 2010 figures are based on an estimated water abstraction of 50% of water allocations. This is based on the average consumption in all regions excepting Southland, where the 16,000 m3 allocated to hydroelectricity - 60% of the total national allocation - skews the national average. Break in series in 2014 due to a new calculation method which does not use water allocation (consented). For further information, see http://www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/environment/environmental-reporting-series/environmental-indicators/Home/Fresh%20water/consented-freshwater-takes.aspx and https://data.mfe.govt.nz/table/53613-primary-use-and-source-of-consented-freshwater-takes-201314/

Poland: Totals include mining and construction water discharged without use. Data include abstractions for agriculture, which refer to aquaculture (areas over 10 ha) and irrigation (arable land and forest areas greater than 20 ha). Animal production and domestic needs of rural inhabitants are not covered (self-supply). Aquaculture: water abstraction for filling fishponds exceeding 10 ha. Industry cooling includes marine water. For more information, see: http://www.kzgw.gov.pl/ , http://www.pgi.gov.pl/ , http://www.psh.gov.pl/ , http://www.imgw.pl/

Portugal: Data do not include the Azores and Madeira. Irrigation: data estimated using mathematical models for calculating soil water balance. It is uncertain how much is abstracted from surface and from groundwater. The estimates reflect the characteristics of the soil and climate, reflected by specific coefficients of the mathematical model, and therefore care needs to be used in making comparisons. The recent decrease in public water abstractions is due to the effects  of the economic crisis and the consequent need for water savings and for a more efficient use. For more information see http://www.ine.pt/ (Statistics Portugal) and http://www.ersar.pt/  (Water and Waste Services Regulation Authority).

Slovak Republic: For more information see https://www.enviroportal.sk/indicator/detail?id=1761,  https://www.enviroportal.sk/spravy/index , http://www.shmu.sk/en/?page=1, https://www.enviroportal.sk/indicator/detail?

Spain: Before 2000 agriculture includes only irrigation. 1995 data do not refer to 1995, but represent an average hydrological year, except for those data referring to cooling of thermal and nuclear plants

Sweden: Irrigation: 1985-2004 estimates for dry year. For more information: http://www.scb.se/

Switzerland: For more information see http://trinkwasser.ch/index.php?id=767&L=1 , http://www.svgw.ch/index.php?id=178

Turkey: Break in series in 2008 for public water supply (before 2008 data refer to urban areas only). Totals: Estimates including data based on partial inventories, excluding agricultural uses besides irrigation and, until 1993, electrical cooling. Agriculture: irrigation only. Manufacturing industry and electrical cooling: data are based on partial surveys. 1993 data include abstractions by industry. 1991: partial totals for public supply include manufacture and industry cooling, whereas the grand total excludes them. 2005 and 2008: partial data including estimates based on previous year data for abstraction by industry and electrical cooling.

England and Wales: Series break in 1991 and 1999 (significant changes in reporting methods and classifications). Figures are therefore not strictly comparable with those in previous/intervening years. Data for 2014 refers to England only. Public water supply includes estimations. Agriculture and irrigation: Under the Water Act 2003 abstraction of less than 20m3/day became exempt from the requirement to hold a licence as of 1 April 2005. As a result over 22,000 licences were deregulated, mainly for agriculture or private water supply purposes. However, due to the small volumes involved this has had minimal effect on the estimated licensed and actual abstraction totals Estimates for irrigation are solely for spray irrigation. Return requirements, which set out the actual abstraction information requested from abstractors, were standardised across England & Wales from 1 April 2008. Returns are now requested on a financial year basis. Prior to April 2008 returns were either by calendar year or financial year. To account for this, data collection for 2008 was the subject of two requests. At the end of the period January 2008 to March 2008 and at the end of the period April 2008 to March 2009. This may have had the effect of underestimating actual abstraction.

OECD Total: Gross freshwater abstractions per capita, as percentage of total renewable resources and as percentage of internal resources are OECD Secretariat estimates. Data exclude Chile and the United Kingdom refers to England and Wales only

Colombia: The data presented for the different years are not comparable, given the different methodology applied and the database used. Production of electricity refers to the water demand for cooling by the thermoelectric sector, which does not include water demand for the generation of hydroelectricity. Amounts of water abstracted from surface and groundwater sources are estimated. Groundwater demand is estimated at 12% of total demand. For more information: http://www.ideam.gov.co/ , http://documentacion.ideam.gov.co/openbiblio/bvirtual/023080/023080.html

Costa Rica: The break in series in 2016 is due to the use of a more accurate data source (public water supply operators). Data includes only legally authorised abstraction (there is an unknown amount of water that is illegally abstracted). For more information see National Institute of Statistics and Census: http://www.inec.go.cr/, Directorate of Water: http://www.da.go.cr/, and National Meteorological Institute: http://www.imn.ac.cr/.

Brazil: The category "industry" refers to ISIC 10-33 categories