How much water do we consume?
In 2019, households used 130 litres of drinking water per person per day, which is a total of 818 billion litres (=818 million m3). Companies used 386 billion litres of mains water (=386 million m3) that year.
From 2003 to 2014, household drinking water consumption per inhabitant fell by almost 8 percent, from 138 to 127.5 litres per person per day. This decrease in water use was partly due to household appliances becoming more economical. After 2014, consumption increased again somewhat. In 2018 and 2019, more water was used than in previous years due to the relatively dry conditions.
In recent years, water consumption has been erratic due to changing weather conditions. In relatively dry summers, households used more drinking water for watering the garden or filling swimming pools.
|Jaar||Drinking water consumption|
Companies used 386 million cubic metres of mains water in 2019, almost 3 million more than in 2018. Mains water consists of drinking waternoot1 and industrial water.noot2 A fifth of the total mains water consumption by companies was industrial water in 2019.
|Jaar||Households (drinking water)||Companies (drinking water)||Companies (industrial water)|
|1)Mains water consists of drinking water and industrial water.|
Less surface water used, but increase in 2019
Mains water is produced by water companies from surface and groundwater and, at 1.3 billion cubic metres, was a relatively small part of total water consumption. In total, 14.7 billion cubic metres were extracted from fresh or salt surface water and groundwater.
The extraction of surface water for the supply of drinking water, agriculture, energy provision and industry has decreased by 4 percent since 2003 to 13.5 billion in 2019. The decline is entirely due to fresh surface water, the use of which has decreased by 29 percent. In 2019, however, freshwater extraction increased by 5 percent compared to 2018.
Ever more salt water is being extracted for cooling purposes. Since 2003, its use has increased by 62 percent (mainly for energy provision). Cooling water is discharged into surface water following use, after which it can be reused, unlike irrigation water that evaporates or soaks into the soil. In 2019, agricultural water use was 77 percent higher than in 2017, but 15 percent lower than in 2018. More groundwater and surface water was used for irrigation in 2018 and 2019 than in previous years.
Water intended or partly intended for drinking, cooking or preparing food or for other household purposes (with the exception of hot tap water), which is made available to consumers or other users through pipes (definition from the Drinking Water Act). This water complies with the drinking water quality requirements and is produced from groundwater or surface water by water companies.
Water of a different quality to drinking water that is used, for example, in refineries, the chemical and the metal industry. In many cases industrial water is produced and supplied by special industrial water companies, but also by industrial companies themselves. The data on industrial water are incomplete: in particular, CBS does not have a complete picture of deliveries between industrial companies.