According to a report released by World Resources Institute (WRI), Fourteen of India’s top 20 largest thermal power utility companies have experienced water shortage-related disruptions at least once between 2013 and 2016, losing more than $1.4 billion in total potential revenue. India lost about 14 terawatt-hours of thermal power generation due to water shortages in 2016, canceling out more than 20 percent of the growth in the country’s total electricity generation from 2015.
According to CEA 2017 report, more than 80 percent of India’s electricity is generated from thermal power plants of which 90 percent reply on freshwater for cooling. More than 80 percent of the total thermal generation was cooled by freshwater recirculation systems. Freshwater once through systems are the second-most common cooling technology in India, accounting for about seven percent of total thermal generation in 2016 accounting for more than 83 percent of India’s total utility power generation.
The WRI report recommended that the Union government should mandate that power plants monitor and disclose water withdrawal and discharge data, create guidelines, and policy incentives to drive better performance in managing water use and risks, and prioritize solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind projects whenever possible.
Water consumption from India’s thermal power generation rose steadily every year between 2011 and 2016, but would stay below its 2016 level by 2027 if the country’s ambitious renewable goals are successfully achieved and the notified stringent water regulations implemented, the study said.