Geothermal Resource Investigations

by Lloyd R. Porter, (M.ASCE), Civ. Engr.; U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Boulder City, NV,

Serial Information: Journal of the Hydraulics Division, 1973, Vol. 99, Issue 11, Pg. 2097-2111

Document Type: Journal Paper


As a major step toward augmentation of the water supply of the Lower Colorado River Basin, the Bureau of Reclamation is investigating the geothermal resource potential of the basin underlying California's Imperial Valley. Multipurpose development of hot geothermal brines may produce upward of 2,500,000 acre-ft of high quality water per year, and add up to 10,000,000 kw of electrical generating capacity to Pacific Southwest power systems. Investigations to date indicate that several billion acre-ft of hot brine exist in the Imperial Valley geothermal field. When subsurface pressures are tapped by a deep well, the hot brine will flash into a mixture of steam and water. This mixture will flow to the surface and can be used to produce not only desalted water but, also, electrical power and, possibly, mineral byproducts. A deep geothermal test well, Mesa 6-1, was drilled and tested in 1972 and a portable research desalting unit installed in 1973.

Subject Headings: Salt water | Hydro power | Electric power | Thermal power | Water reclamation | Basins | Water quality | Field tests | Colorado River

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