The role that the government decides a water body will fulfill. Examples of these uses include healthy fish and wildlife populations, fish consumption, aesthetic value, safe drinking water sources, and healthy phytoplankton and zooplankton communities. Restoring beneficial uses is the primary goal of the Remedial Action Plans for the Areas of Concern and of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. Uses of the Great Lakes that are valued by society, such as water quality that is suitable for drinking, swimming, agricultural, and industrial uses; healthy fish and wildlife populations which support a broad range of subsistence, sport, and commercial uses; and aesthetics. See also "Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement," "Lakewide Management Plans," and "Remedial Action Plans."
Beneficial use is the basis, measure, and limit of a water right. Colorado law broadly defines beneficial use of water as a lawful appropriation that uses reasonably efficient practices to put that water to use without waste.