News from MCWD: Ormat appeal, restrictions, sewer work

Press releases from Mammoth Community Water District

Mammoth Lakes, CA – As state lawmakers enter the final week of the legislative session and negotiate proposed legislation that would mandate California obtain 50 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030, the Mammoth Community Water District (MCWD) filed a notice of appeal seeking review of the Mono County Superior Court’s decision to deny MCWD’s challenge to the environmental review of Ormat Technologies’ (Ormat) Casa Diablo IV Geothermal Development Project (Project).


The Project will double geothermal pumping by Ormat near the Town of Mammoth Lakes. MCWD previously has called the Project’s environmental document grossly inadequate and has pursued inclusion of reasonable monitoring and mitigation measures to protect the region’s groundwater resources as part of the Project.

“Although renewable energy expansion is an important statewide goal, so is the preservation of sustainable water supplies,” said MCWD Board President Tom Smith. “MCWD is committed to protecting taxpayer dollars and the region’s water needs. We will fight to ensure that Ormat implements appropriate measures to mitigate potential impacts on our groundwater supplies.”

The Mammoth Lakes community has been almost entirely dependent on groundwater supplies since last year. Regional water supplies remain at critical levels due to the historic drought and strict state mandates on water conservation. Establishment of an adequate monitoring and mitigation plan is crucial.

MCWD filed a lawsuit against Ormat and the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District in August 2014, challenging the adequacy of their environmental review for the Project. On June 26, 2015, MCWD’s challenge was denied by the Mono County Superior Court. The MCWD Board of Directors has decided to appeal that decision.

“We do not take the investment to pursue litigation lightly,” added Smith. “But Ormat’s current plans clearly contradict the long-term sustainability of our community. MCWD stands with technical experts, the United States Geological Survey (USGS), local community groups and elected officials to see that our concerns are fairly and adequately addressed.”

After months of discussions, negotations with Ormat have failed to produce meaningful progress, as Ormat unexpectedly reneged on key commitments to install deep monitoring wells and improve its monitoring and mitigation plan.

In a letter to the United States Bureau of Land Management (BLM) last MCWD – MCWD Appeals Geothermal Case Page 2 week, MCWD called the development “troubling,” outlined fundamental areas of disagreement and called upon the BLM to assign an independent mediator.

“There is a right way and a wrong way to building geothermal projects in California,” said Smith. “There is clearly too much at stake and the possible consequences too severe for MCWD to simply walk away. We’re going to continue to push Ormat to adopt measures recommended by USGS that will protect our water supply. Anything less is an injustice to our residents and the environment – and the geothermal industry itself will suffer from a lack of community trust as it seeks to add more projects in California.”

As the state concurrently seeks to expand geothermal projects in its renewable energy portfolio, a careful examination of how geothermal projects operate is required to ensure groundwater resources are not negatively impacted.

MCWD remains committed to securing a meaningful resolution to this issue, but will be vigilant in ensuring appropriate measures are put in place to protect the quality and quantity of regional groundwater supplies.

A copy of the complete letter to the BLM, can be viewed here. For more information, please visit MCWD’s website at:

About Mammoth Community Water District MCWD provides water and wastewater utility service to the Town of Mammoth Lakes and surrounding areas. MCWD strives to provide reliable, affordable utility service to our customers and to conduct our operations in a manner reflecting our stewardship role. We encourage our customers to practice responsible use of our limited water resources, and to take advantage of the information and services available to support this goal.


Level III Update

Due to persisting drought conditions, the Mammoth Community Water District has made changes to the existing Level III Water Restrictions.

Effective September 14th,irrigation is limited to the hours between 4:00AM and 7:00AM. MCWD Customers may only irrigate on two days of the week. Even addresses can water on Wednesday and Saturday and Odd addresses on Thursday and Sunday for these three hours only.

Handheld watering with a hose is still permitted on Wed, Thurs, Sat, and Sun between the hours of 5PM and 9AM. Visit the MCWD website for more information. We at the District appreciate all of your conservation efforts, keep up the good work.



The Board of Directors of the Mammoth Community Water District (“District”) adopted Ordinance No. 09-03-15-14 amending the District’s Code during its meeting on September 3, 2015. The ordinance adopts amendments to the District’s existing water conservation regulations regarding requirements to be imposed during times of declared water shortages.

The ordinance amends the District’s mandatory requirements for water shortage levels 1 through 4 as follows:

Level 1 Shortage: (1) mandatory reduction in demand for each consumer of 10% below that consumer’s demand in the same month in calendar year 2013; Level 2 Shortage: (1) mandatory reduction in demand for each consumer of 20% below that consumer’s demand in the same month in calendar year 2013; Level 3 Shortage: (1) mandatory reduction in demand for each consumer of 30% below that consumer’s demand in the same month in calendar year 2013; irrigation for residential and commercial landscapes, except golf courses, public parks and school playing fields, may only occur between 4:00am-7:00am on the previously mandated days (2) Customers with a monthly Maximum Applied Water Allowance may not exceed 80% of the monthly allowance. (3) Washing of commercial or non-commercial vehicles, boats, trailers and other types of vehicles is allowed outside of and at commercial car washes. Level 4 Shortage: (1) mandatory reduction in demand for each consumer of 50% below that consumer’s demand in the same month in calendar year 2013 (2) All landscape irrigation, except (1) the exemption for golf courses, public parks, school playing fields, and landscape products of commercial growers and nurseries; and (2) the exemption allowing landscape watering with hand-held hose with shut-off nozzle Sunday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday between 5 p.m. to 9 a.m., shall be prohibited.

Any other measures that the Board determines will promote the appropriate level of water use reductions under any of the water shortage levels and that are specified in any motion or other action adopted by the Board Golf Courses, Public Parks and School Playing Field Water are subject to the mandatory water reductions from the same month in calendar year 2013 of 10% for Level 1, 20% for Level 2, 30% for Level 3 and 50% for Level 4.

The ordinance was adopted with Directors Smith, Cage, Domaille, and Henderson voting in favor. A copy of the ordinance, in its entirety, is available for review at the District office located at 1315 Meridian Boulevard, Mammoth Lakes, California 93546. A copy may be obtained by contacting Irene Yamashita at 760-934-2596 ext. 314.



The Mammoth Community Water District maintains about 78 miles of sewer line to serve its customers. This month, about 1.5 miles of sewer pipe will be upgraded to improve its structural integrity.

This annual maintenance work will use a trenchless technology that inserts a lining into the pipes through existing manholes. Once the lining is inserted, it cures in place to produce a watertight, smooth surface that increases the lifespan of the pipes and reduces root intrusion.

The work will start on September 14th and finish by the end of the month. Sancon Engineering from Huntington Beach will be conducting the work. What to Expect:  Traffic in work zones may be limited to single lanes or temporarily halted to accommodate equipment and protect crews.

Crews will be working between 7:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday.

Areas and streets affected by the sewer lining project include: the Lakes Basin; Old Mammoth Road between Lake Mary Road and Fir Street; Holiday Vista, Valley Vista, and Davidson.

If the project requires access onto your property, you will be notified via door hangers. You may be requested to reduce your water and sewer use for a short time during the curing process.

A strong odor may be noticed as the liner is being inserted into the pipe. The Mammoth Community Water District requests that drivers reduce their speed, drive cautiously and watch for traffic control signs and personnel in work zones. If you have questions about the project, you may call the Water District at (760) 934-2596.



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