Portage County uses more ground water per year than any of the 71 other counties in Wisconsin.
A “Wisconsin Water Use” report by the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) based on 2011 reporting identified Portage County as the major user of ground water in the state, pumping 21,309,871,904 gallons (21.3 billion).
The usage is based on annual reports from businesses and municipalities with wells or water intakes capable of withdrawing 100,000 gallons of water per day.
The DNR began monitoring water withdrawals by sector, source type and location to allow the department to assess the scale and impact of water use in Wisconsin to promote sustainable water use.
Monthly withdrawals also varied greatly during 2011, following temperature and precipitation experiences, with summer heat driving water demands in all sectors, while cranberry production required large withdrawals in the fall for harvest flooding and in the early winter for frost protection.
Power plants, municipalities, large farms, and paper mills and other industries used more than 2.156 trillion gallons of water from lakes, rivers and underground aquifers in 2011, according to the report.