Things were looking good for the Mammoth Community Water District (MCWD) when new data collected in the past 18 months confirmed its assertions that geothermal fluid and potable water were intermingling as a result of fluid extraction for power generation by Ormat Technologies of Nevada. The new information comes with a caveat from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) that more data is needed before any conclusions can be drawn.
Ormat wants to expand its current operations near Mammoth with the Casa Diablo IV project but awaits approval from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) before moving forward. BLM was scheduled to publish the final monitoring plan for Casa Diablo IV by the end of the summer, but the new data may have pushed that date out. BLM officials were unavailable for comment as of press time.
One of the snags to any definitive conclusion is that the phenomenon being studied is underground. Where exactly the water is, how far down, whether the hot geothermal water is mixing with cold water is all subject to conjecture.
There has been data collected in Long Valley for decades, but new monitoring wells have brought more information to the surface.