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Water use

In 2013 total water withdrawal was estimated at 1 514 million m (NSC, 2014). This includes water loss during transport of 141 million m, which has been estimated to be equally distributed over industrial and municipal water withdrawal. Of these 1 514 million m, 117 million m (8 percent) was for irrigated agriculture, 372 million m (25 percent) for aquaculture, 547 million m (36 percent) for municipalities (including 70 million m of water loss during transport) and 478 million m (31 percent) for industries (including 71 million m of water loss during transport) (Table 5 and Figure 1). Approximately 851 million m, or 56 percent of the total withdrawal, comes from groundwater sources and 663 million m, or 44 percent, from surface water sources (Figure 2) (NSC, 2014). Water withdrawal decreased steadily over the last decennia, from 1 980 million m in 1995 and 1 706 million m in 2005 (NSC, 2014).

Groundwater is the main source of water supply for drinking purposes. However, residents of Polotsk and partly of Minsk and Gomel cities receive their drinking water from surface sources (NATO, 2005).

Minsk and Minsk Oblast remain Belarus' largest of water users, with 35 percent of total water withdrawal, 42 percent and 33 percent of surface water and groundwater respectively (MNREP, 2015b).


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