By Deb Murphy

Earlier this week, we reported on the Mammoth Community Water District’s efforts to take a second look at environmental documents and the assumption of an impermeable barrier between the district’s water source and the deeper reservoir tapped by Ormat Technologies’ Casa Diablo IV project.


District general manager Patrick Hayes maintains new data from U.S. Geological Survey call into question that barrier; Ormat’s Paul Thomsen called that data inadequate. In response to our inquiry, the USGS reminded us of the impending government shutdown.

The shutdown was short-lived and we received the following statement from Eric Reichard, the director for the USGS California Water Science Center:

“The U.S. Geological Survey has conducted groundwater monitoring in the Mammoth Lakes area for over 30 years, and has regularly shared preliminary data and analyses with technical working groups. 

This has included water-quality data presented to the Long Valley Hydrologic Advisory Committee (LVHAC) and preliminary water level data presented at the November 1, 2017, meeting of the Groundwater Monitoring and Response Plan (GMRP) work-group. 

The USGS stands by the integrity of its data. However, the data presented at these meetings –and referred to in recent news articles –  have not yet undergone formal analysis following our rigorous scientific review procedures. These procedures ensure that when our science is formally released to the public, it is unbiased and reliable.  Given the high interest in this subject, the USGS is working to complete such an analysis, and make public an accompanying report.” 

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