Water scarcity and increasing demand from the mining sector in northern regions are behind the price hikes, which in some cases are as much as US$200,000/l/s. “There are no more freshwater rights in northern Chile for mining and an extra liter is really hard to find right now,” Weisner said. A recent deal between Barrick Gold’s Zaldivar mine and BHP Billiton’s (NYSE: BHP) 57.5%-controlled Escondida operation, under which the former acquired water rights from the latter for 600l/s at a price of US$300mn, is a clear indication of how scarcity is affecting prices, he said.
See http://www.bnamericas.com/news/mining/Scarcity,_demand_cause_water_rights_prices_to_skyrocket/196566110.