Alabama’s water resources are important for economic growth and sustainability and for quality of life. The rivers, lakes, and streams in the state help to sustain communities, provide support for industries and jobs, generate power, irrigate crops, provide critical transportation avenues and links, maintain wildlife (habitat and diversity), and provide many opportunities for recreation. Management of these water resources must be based on periodic comprehensive assessments of the amount of water available in the state. Maintaining this valuable resource depends on wise stewardship of our watersheds.
Alabama has three sectors of water use: (1) public supply, (2) agriculture (aquaculture, golf courses, irrigation, and livestock), and (3) industrial, thermoelectric, and mining. Since 1950, when the United States Geological Survey (USGS) first conducted water-use compilations, important changes in water use have occurred over the years in Alabama. These changes have been driven by population growth, economic and industrial development, changes in technology, and compliance with state and federal laws. In the last few years, increased awareness of the value of water efficiency and conservation has resulted in more efficient use of water from Alabama’s rivers, lakes, reservoirs, and groundwater.