MILWAUKEE (WTAQ) - If you think Wisconsin uses a lot of water, you’re right.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says over 2 trillion gallons of water are pulled each year out of lakes, rivers, streams, and underground aquifers.
It’s a little more than the annual flow of the Wisconsin River at Wisconsin Dells, where flowing waters are part of a huge tourist attraction.
So how do we know how much water is being gobbled up?
The state DNR requires all businesses and communities to report their water usage, if they’re capable of producing 100,000 gallons or more each day. The order has been on the books for five years, but we’re just now getting a more complete picture of where all the water goes.
The DNR said the percentage of users who reported did not exceed 90 percent until 2011. Officials say surface waters meet 90 percent of the state’s water needs, while groundwater provides the rest.
The DNR’s Eric Ebersberger says the data will help communities manage their water resources, and try to make them more sustainable.
Wisconsin’s 30 power plants are the largest users by far. They take almost 85 percent of the total surface water used in a year.