Withdrawal

Freshwater extracted from underground or surface water sources. Approximately 70 percent of global water withdrawal is used in agriculture, compared to 20 percent in industrial processes.

  • Third-party/municipal water: Water supplied by municipal water suppliers and municipal wastewater treatment plants, public or private utilities, and other organizations involved in the management and provision of water.
  • Groundwater: Water held in and recoverable from an underground formation, such as an aquifer. Non-renewable groundwater generally isn’t replenished at all or not on a human timescale. This includes so-called fossil waters. Renewable groundwater is rechargeable, either through the hydrologic cycle or through injection of treated water into the ground (known as aquifer storage and recovery). This applies to aquifers that have not been overexploited. Less than 6% of groundwater is replenished within 50 years, meaning most groundwater is now considered non-renewable.
  • Surface water: Water that occurs naturally on the earth’s surface, for instance in rivers, streams, ice sheets, glaciers, or lakes.
  • Produced water: Water that is brought to the surface or generated as a byproduct of another process (e.g., oil and natural gas extraction or condensate from sugar cane crushing) and must consequently be managed by an organization.
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