Raising the weir on the Cowichan River is one of the recommendations to control the amount of water in the river. (File photo)

Advisory group recommends raising weir to prevent dry-up of Cowichan River

Increasimg height of weir among recommendations

After months of deliberations, the Cowichan Water Use planning process has resulted in recommendations for water supply and storage options for the Cowichan Lake and river system.

Recommendations were presented during a public meeting held in Lake Cowichan on June 11.

Among the recommendations by a 19-member public advisory group is to increase the height of the weir that separates Cowichan Lake from the Cowichan River by 30 centimetres or more on an interim basis to control the amount of water in the river.

A longer-term maximum weir height increase to 70 centimetres or more would only be considered after extensive discussions and negotiations with impacted property owners.

RELATED STORY: LAKE COWICHAN LEARNS THAT WATER PROBLEMS GO FAR BEYOND WEIR

The PAG also recommends allowing for temporary pumping to be used as an emergency measure to maintain a minimum flow down the Cowichan River during severe summer droughts.

As well, the PAG recommends starting to store water and control outflows on the Cowichan River one month earlier than the current start date each year.

Water use and supply in the Cowichan Lake and the Cowichan River system has long been a source of concern for residents of the Cowichan region.

The impacts of climate change, including hotter, drier summers and lower snow packs, have already resulted in one-third less water flowing into Cowichan Lake than when the weir was originally constructed in the 1950s.

“During many years, there has no longer been enough water to support the varied needs of fish, local residents, industry and other users,” said Jon Lefebure, chairman of the Cowichan Valley Regional District.

“By 2050 critical snow pack is projected to decrease by 85 per cent, reducing lake inflows in the spring and early summer. This will be compounded by a reduction in summer rainfall of 17 per cent. Further, water storage to support continued flow in most years will not be possible in the future without additional storage and adjusted management regimes.”

A community planning process to explore options was initiated by a partnership of the CVRD, Cowichan Tribes, the Cowichan Watershed Board and Catalyst Paper.

Further, the PAG, which includes representatives from local, provincial and federal governments, First Nations, industry, local community and interest groups and area residents, has been meeting since November to evaluate potential water supply and storage options for the Cowichan Lake and River system.

The PAG carefully assessed the alternatives and the tradeoffs for ensuring adequate flows and water levels for fish and other aquatic species, avoiding flood risk for lakefront property owners, and minimizing impacts on water users on the lake and river.

At its final meeting on May 8, the PAG reached consensus on a preferred water use alternative, presenting its proposed recommendations during the public information session on June 11.

More information on the Cowichan Water Use planning process can be found at cowichanwup.ca.

Just Posted

Drivesmart column: Fear of police retaliation

While I won’t say that this is impossible, I would certainly like to think that it is highly unlikely

Cowichan Div. 2 women out-paced in last match of 2018

Soccer team has second game of the weekend postponed by weather

Robert Barron column: Universal child care good for families, and society

I’m pleased that the province is stepping in to start providing $10-per-day childcare spaces

Lynn’s hat trick gets Caps past Salmon Arm

Cowichan wins second game of Interior road trip

From introducing k.d. lang to honouring Gordon Lightfoot, Cowichan Theatre has had busy 40 years

40-year retrospective has offered theatregoers a glimpse of Cowichan’s entertainment history

VIDEO: Cobble Hill welcomes Christmas with frolicsome show

From lovely carols to humorous skits: a big crowd enjoyed it all on Sunday, Dec. 9

Coming up in Cowichan: Celebrate the second floor with the HUB

Celebrate the second floor this weekend at HUB at Cowichan Station Dec.… Continue reading

Crossword puzzle clues Dec. 14

Oops. Attention all crossword puzzle fans: the clues in the Friday, Dec.… Continue reading

Trudeau lashes out at Conservatives over migration “misinformation”

Warning against the “dangers of populism,” Trudeau says using immigration as a wedge political issue puts Canada’s future at risk.

B.C. hockey coach creates ‘gear library’ to remove cost barrier of sport

Todd Hickling gathered donations and used gear to remove the cost barrier for kids to play hockey.

GoFundMe helps Vancouver Island teen battle a rare cancer

Nanaimo’s Michelle Reilly, 16, battling spinal cord cancer, seeking possible treatment in U.S.

Canada’s ambassador meets with second detainee in China

Global Affairs says John McCallum, Canada’s ambassador to China, met with Spavor Sunday

‘They’re coming:’ Flying cars may appear in urban skies by 2023

Air taxis will number 15,000 and become a global market worth $32 billion by 2035

B.C. VIEWS: Andrew Wilkinson on taxes, ICBC and union changes

Opposition leader sees unpredictable year ahead in 2019

Most Read