Recent U.S. Geological Survey water-use report suggests that increasing water-use efficiency could mitigate the supply-and-demand imbalance arising from changing climate and growing population. However, this rich data have neither analyzed to understand the underlying patterns, nor have been investigated to identify the factors contributing to this increased efficiency. Our analyses of spatial patterns of per capita withdrawals demonstrate that urban counties exhibit improved efficiency over rural counties. Improved efficiency is also demonstrated over high-income and well-educated counties. Given the potential implications of the findings in developing long-term water conservation measures (i.e., increasing block rates), we argue the need for frequent updates, perhaps monthly to annual, of water-use data for identifying effective strategies that control the water-use efficiency in various geographic settings under a changing climate.

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