As much as 1,150 megawatts of energy production could shut down if water supplies for power plants in drought-hit California are not secured, according to the state’s grid operator, Bloomberg News reported. Several of the state’s energy agencies have warned that the drought could threaten grid reliability, though current restrictions on water use have had little effect on operations at gas-powered plants.
In California’s Central Valley, demand for scarce water supplies has pushed water prices as high as $US 2,200 per acre-foot (1,233 cubic meters) on the state’s trading market, the Associated Press reported. There are concerns that trading water stored in underground “water banks” and from new wells could affect local groundwater supplies.
A late start to the monsoon in India is pushing back the planting of summer crops, which could eventually lead to lower food exports and increased inflation, Reuters reported. Monsoon rains in June were 43 percent below average overall, though in some states—including Gujarat and Maharashtra—rains were more than 90 percent below average for this time of year.
Control of scarce water supplies has become critical in the conflicts in Iraq and Syria, leading all sides to target dams, canals and other water infrastructure, the Guardian reported, citing security analysts. Dams can be used to control the water supply in downstream areas as well as energy supplies generated from hydropower.
Indigenous groups from the Ecuadorian Amazon are protesting for access to a new board formed to regulate water use, arguing that without representation their water rights could be restricted, the Wall Street Journal reported. The groups are also concerned about regulating water rights for mining projects near their communities.