FRESNO, Calif. (AP) -- A new study shows that water usage per person is lower now than it was in the mid-1950s, thanks to water-saving technologies and a nationwide push to safeguard dwindling supplies.

The study from the U.S. Geological Survey shows that industry, as well as average households, also are using less water overall than in 1975, when national water use peaked.

California, which is in the third year of a withering drought, was the most water-hungry state in 2005, the most recent year for which figures are available.

Nationwide, a full 80 percent of the 410 billion gallons used each day went to produce electricity at thermoelectric power plants and to irrigate farm fields.

Federal scientists conduct the study every five years.

Copyright 2009 The AP.

Recommended for you