Nine Colorado River Basin counties that use water for golf

For grins, here’s some data on golf water use for selected Colorado River Basin counties:


Percentage of water used on golf

Some notes:

  • Data source: USGS Water Use in the United States
  • People who fly into desert cities often look down out of the airplane on approach and comment on golf courses. I have nothing against golf. If I had swimming pool data, that would make a fun post too.
  • Counties are a super troublesome geographic unit of measure for water, because they lack uniformity. Like Jefferson County, Colorado, for example. That’s a weird county.
  • Percentages are a super troublesome measurement, because if you’ve got farming in your county (like, say, Maricopa and Bernalillo) that throws off the calculation by making golf look, in comparison, small.
  • I’ve got some reservations about the data. I left Clark County, NV (Las Vegas) off the chart because the numbers there just didn’t seem to jive with other data I have.
  • This is in no way comprehensive. I just picked some counties here that I’m interested in because I’ve always wanted to experiment with one of those “Ten BLANKS that BLANK” clickbait headlines.


  1. Nice clickbait ;-). To complicate matters further, sometimes golf courses use potable water, sometimes non-potable water before it goes through a municipal water plant, sometimes post-use non-potable water that has not been totally cleaned up.

  2. Since you include two counties Bernallio NM and Salt Lake Ut that are not in the colorado river basin I is it the percentage of the interbasin transfer used or what metric?

  3. Lyle – Good questions. I included Salt Lake and Bernalillo because they both use Colorado River water for a portion of their supplies. It’s percentage of total water withdrawals, meaning all surface and groundwater withdrawn from rivers/aquifers for human use, including both native and imported Colorado River water.

  4. i must be the only person that tends to not read those sorts of articles because i figure if the author is that lame then they must also be pretty lame when it comes to writing…

    in a blog i give authors a bit more leeway. 🙂

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