The competition pool won’t be drained this year but the wave and swirl pools will be. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)

The competition pool won’t be drained this year but the wave and swirl pools will be. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)

Down the drain? Not this year: Duncan competition pool keeping water

The Cowichan Aquatic Centre’s competition pool will not be drained this year during the annual shutdown.

The move will save just under one million gallons of water.

“The main competition pool will remain full. The wave and swirl pools will be drained,” confirmed North Cowichan Parks and Recreation director Ernie Mansueti.

The wave pool and swirl pool hold 762,000 litres combined.

In the past when the municipality has drained their pools during the summer months, after water restrictions have come into effect and worries about drought abound, they have faced significant criticism, with some accusations about wasting water.

“We know it is a significant amount of water, however that is not water that is coming right out of the Cowichan River,” North Cowichan Mayor Jon Lefebure explained. “It’s coming out of the aquifer that we get our domestic water supply from and we don’t anticipate there will be significant impact on the flow of water in the river, which I would say is the major concern this year — not to harm the flow in the river.”

Lefebure is bracing for feedback on the decision.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if people again show their concern but I think we have looked at it closely and we’ve come to a fair conclusion that we are not being harmful to the environment in emptying the pool and refilling it once repairs have been made,” he said. “We have talked about the issue in past years and there are very strong operational reasons to empty the pool during the downtime. We don’t necessarily have to empty and refill every summer.”

The competition pool is used by significantly fewer swimmers and as such does not endure the same amount of wear and tear. Mansueti said by not draining it, roughly 990,000 litres of water will be saved.

The annual aquatic closure begins Aug. 19.The centre’s gym is closed for the first week of the shutdown only.