How Water Is Affected by Various Industries

Almost every industry needs to use water at some point, and most of them have an impact on the world’s water supply. The magnitude and variety of that impact can change dramatically from one business to the next, since there are normally plenty of different methods that can be used to treat the water after use.

Water Treatment

The water treatment industry has a direct impact on the water supply. It exists to remove contaminants from the water. In some cases, that means purifying salt water so that people can drink it. That reduces strain on fresh water supplies, which helps to ensure that they will be available in the future.

The treatment facilities can also remove pollutants that enter the system due to accidents or the actions of other industries. Many areas require industries to fund the purification of any water that they pollute, which means that the treatment industry has connections to almost every other industry that interacts with the world’s water.


Agriculture has a large impact on the water supply. At the most basic level, it consumes fresh water to keep plants and animals alive. It is the leading consumer of water in many areas, but various low-water growth techniques can reduce its usage and prevent waste. In general, farms that focus on plants will use significantly less water than those that focus on animals.

Agricultural runoff can carry pesticides, sediment, and animal waste into local rivers and reservoirs. That can cause serious problems, especially when it boosts the nitrogen in the water supply to the point where it can cause algal blooms, which have a large economic impact. A mixture of prevention and water treatment can prevent most of that contamination, and those techniques are becoming more common as more people become aware of the risk.


Some mining techniques require the use of water to break up rocks and extract minerals. Most techniques also use it for cleaning and end up exposing the water supply to high concentrations of heavy metals and other minerals.

That can lead to problems, but environmental remediation can fix the damage. The process almost always involves water treatments of some kind, combined with efforts to make sure that no more minerals enter the water supply.


Tourism near major rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water depend on having clean water. No tourists want to visit a polluted mess, so the tourism industry is dependent on keeping the water clean. Some forms of tourism, such as cruise ships, do add some pollution to the water as they get rid of waste, but many other forms of tourism, especially those that focus on outdoor activities, provide funding for preservation efforts.