As Natural Gas grows
water use declines
Natural gas power plants use less water for cooling than coal or nuclear plants per megawatt-hour of electricity generated. Since 2005, total electricity generated from natural gas in the U.S. has risen dramatically, with larger changes in some states than others. Click on a state to see changes in natural gas and water use in power generation. (Tell me more)
10 states with largest decrease in water use
10 states with biggest increase in natural gas
US Average
Electricity Generated
From Natural Gas
Percent of water-cooled electricity generation
Fresh water use
for power generation
Gallons per megawatt-hour
of fossil and nuclear
of United States' total freshwater use goes to cooling in power generation
stlargest decrease in water use at power plants since 2005
thlargest increase in natural gas electricity since 2005
91101million gallons of water used each day in power generation
60%increase in electricity generated from natural gas since 2005
Explore map to see state rankings.
Water use here means water withdrawn from rivers, lakes, and other fresh-water sources, but excluding water used for hydroelectricity generation.

The water use graph shows water use per megawatt-hour of electricity generated using fossil and nuclear fuels. These power plants account for essentially all water used for power generation (excluding hydroelectricity).

Primary data sources are the U.S. Energy Information Administration and the U.S. Geological Survey.