Advances in Science, Technology & Innovation, 2022
Brazil has nearly a fifth of the world’s water reserves; however, water is not evenly distributed. The Northern region holds more than 80% of all water amounts; also, the country has semi-arid areas, like the Northeastern region, which suffers from repeated multiannual droughts. Energy, land, and water are key elements to society’s well-being and are intricately linked to all other sectors within an economy. The decision to use a specific technology for energy production is often based on the lowest cost, without considering important aspects such as water cost and availability, the non-energy water demands, and the aquatic ecosystems. The importance of strengthening Brazilian water governance is one of the main suggestions for a permanent scarcity crisis. Thus, water cost mechanisms were evaluated as governance instruments to face water crises in semi-arid Brazilian rivers. It is shown how a water value for the thermal power sector can vary in scarcity period to avoid its dispute to other users. For the São Francisco basin (case study), the dispute for water essentially takes place between power generation and crop production. Results show the different applications of the water valuation method and in which situations it is most financially indicated to use water to produce electricity or food.