The Department of Natural Resources said Wisconsin industries pull more than 2 trillion gallons of water from the state's lakes, rivers and underground aquifers yearly.
DNR water use section chief Eric Ebersberger said detailed results from an inventory on water use could help regulators, businesses and communities make better decisions on managing resources.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Sunday that surface water along the shores of lakes and rivers was tapped for 90 percent of water needs in 2011.
Power plants are the largest users of surface water. Thirty plants took a total of more than 1.6 trillion gallons in 2011 -- that's 84.6 percent of surface water used that year.
Wisconsin's 49 paper production companies come in second, using over 121.2 billion gallons of surface water in 2011.