The phase diagram of water at extreme conditions plays a critical role in Earth and planetary science, yet remains poorly understood. Here we report a first-principles investigation of the liquid at high temperature, between 11 GPa and 20 GPa—a region where numerous controversial results have been reported over the past three decades. Our results are consistent with the recent estimates of the water melting line below 1,000 K and show that on the 1,000-K isotherm the liquid is rapidly dissociating and recombining through a bimolecular mechanism. We found that short-lived ionic species act as charge carriers, giving rise to an ionic conductivity that at 11 GPa and 20 GPa is six and seven orders of magnitude larger, respectively, than at ambient conditions. Conductivity calculations were performed entirely from first principles, with no a priori assumptions on the nature of charge carriers. Despite frequent dissociative events, we observed that hydrogen bonding persists at high pressure, up to at least 20 GPa. Our computed Raman spectra, which are in excellent agreement with experiment, show no distinctive signatures of the hydronium and hydroxide ions present in our simulations. Instead, we found that infrared spectra are sensitive probes of molecular dissociation, exhibiting a broad band below the OH stretching mode ascribable to vibrations of complex ions.