Surface water vs. groundwater

Grade level: 3rd – 5th

Skills: Addition & Subtraction

Related environmental issues: Water

Area level: National

The figure below shows how much surface water and groundwater are used for agriculture, electricity generation, and industry purposes in the United States every day.

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  1. For agriculture purposes, which water does the United States use more, surface water or groundwater?
  2. For what purpose is surface water used most?
  3. How much more surface water is used daily for electricity generation purposes than agricultural purposes?
  4. Altogether, how much water is used daily for industrial use?
  5. For what purposes is the largest amount of water used?

Source: US Geological Survey



Answer keys

  1. surface water
  2. For electricity generation
  3. 49,303 million gallons (116,000-66,697=49,303)
  4. 690 hundred million gallons (12,100+2,900=15,o00)
  5. For agriculture (for agriculture: 117,397 million gallons, for electricity generation: 116,587 million gallons, for industry: 15,000 million gallons of water is used)