Value to the Nation Fast Facts

Water Supply NATIONAL LEVEL Report

Water Supply 2017
US Army Corps of Engineers — Value to the Nation

Water is a necessity to human life. Many USACE projects play an integral part in fulfilling and sustaining this daily need. The following are facts related to USACE’s role of helping to manage the water supply in the United States.

Water Supply Project Description

Number of Agreements: 363

Storage Space (acre-feet)

Under Contract: 6,212,233

Not Under Contract: 331,052

Other: 1,386,650

Total:  7,929,935

Project Yield (mgd)
(mgd: million gallons per day)

Yield from Contracted Storage (mgd):  5,063 mgd

Total Project Yield (mgd):  6,070 mgd


Economic Data

Water Supply Economic Benefit Estimate: $ 5,945 million

Average Cost of Water in US per MGD (in 2017 dollars): $ 3,217

Benefits in Perspective

Water is essential for life and a critical input into virtually all economic activity. Although the importance of water is evident, estimating its value is a complex process. Consequently, there is great variability in available estimates. For example, a 2013 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report (EPA, 2013) estimates a range of value from $1 to $4,500 per acre foot of water [$3 to $13,800 per millions of gallons per day (MGD)]1 for publicly and privately provided water. USACE's primary role in the water supply industry is to provide water supply storage in partnership with state and local interests. The value of USACE's contribution to the nation's municipal and industrial (M&I) water supply is not in the form of finished water at the tap ready to be consumed. The USACE's partners provide finished water.

The primary National Economic Development (NED) benefit of USACE Water Supply efforts would be measured by the resource cost of the alternative most likely to be implemented in the absence of the storage provided by USACE's reservoirs. Given resource and information constraints, the data needed to measure cost of the most likely alternatives on a national level are not currently available to USACE. Therefore, the Value to the Nation water supply benefit estimate presented here does not represent an NED benefit estimate; rather, it is an attempt to quantify the value of water stored within USACE reservoirs. The primary benefit of USACE water supply projects is that they provide the ability to store large amounts of water.

How these numbers were calculated.

Source: Value to the Nation web site at
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