How is Water Used in California and Where Does My Water Come From?

Water Use in California

Water use by type







(average over 1998-2016)

Water use percentage by source
  Surface water Groundwater Other
Urban 55 41 4
Agricultural 53 42 5
Environmental 74 1 25
(average over 1998-2016, less 1998, 2000-2001)

Data source: California Water Plan Update

California has an extensive system of federal, state, and local water infrastructure for managing surface water and transporting it to the places where it is used (see map below). Groundwater, whether by itself or in conjunction with surface water, supports many public water systems and most small ones (systems that supply drinking water to residents).

If your drinking water is supplied by a public water system you can use the watershed page to identify the water provider serving your area and find its website for more information about where the provider obtains its water supply.

Additional information about water use in California is available from work performed for DWR’s California Water Plan Update.

Major rivers and facilities in California