This graphic provides some of the details in the preliminary design of the new weir. (Submitted graphic)

This graphic provides some of the details in the preliminary design of the new weir. (Submitted graphic)

Preliminary design of new weir presented to the public

Live online presentation scheduled for Dec. 10

The preliminary design for the new Cowichan Lake weir is ready to be presented.

The preliminary design and information are now posted on cowichanlakeweir.ca and a live presentation that will be held on Dec. 10 on the same site will introduce the design and its particular elements, such as the weir’s fish passage.

The design is expected to be finalized by May, 2021.

RELATED STORY: FEDS PLEDGE FUNDING FOR WEIR AT COWICHAN LAKE, WATERSHED

Over a two-year period from 2017 to 2018, a public advisory group developed a water-use plan for Cowichan Lake and Cowichan River that provides a long-term solution for storing water on the lake in order to maintain sufficient water flows in the river into the future, taking into consideration the climate change projections for the watershed.

The key recommendation of the advisory group is to construct a new weir with an increase of 70 cm of elevation above the existing weir.

The current weir, located at the mouth of Cowichan Lake in the Town of Lake Cowichan, was built in the 1950s to provide industrial water storage for the Catalyst pulp and paper mill in Crofton.

The original purpose and design of the weir was to store the necessary water based on the need for process water to run the mill’s operations.

But the weir was not designed to hold the additional and necessary volume of water to sustain the river flows that are now needed, nor does it meet today’s engineering standards required for expansion of storage capacity.

The control structure — including the weir, boat lock, and gates — is no longer capable of satisfying the current and future needs.

In 2019, after one of the worst droughts in the region in decades, Catalyst had to begin pumping water into the Cowichan River over the weir on Aug. 29 for several weeks to maintain water flows in the river and save the river’s fish populations.

RELATED STORY: WATER PUMPING HAS STARTED AT COWICHAN LAKE

It was the first time the company has had to take such action since the weir was first constructed.

According to the CVRD’s website, the preliminary design of the new weir will not only store adequate water to sustain the river flow, but will also allow regulated extraction from the system, in particular during dry seasons.

Upgraded monitoring systems will be used and designed to allow for the structure to be managed within very tight environmental constraints to be adaptive and responsive to environmental and climatic conditions.

The new structure will also be designed to adjust to a potential emergency release of water due to the necessity to store water much earlier in the season.

This is a much higher level of control than the existing infrastructure is capable of and will require a much more refined control structure moderating the spilling of the limited water resources.

The existing weir will also have to be carefully removed at or about the same time as the new infrastructure is built.

RELATED STORY: WORK BEGINS ON NEW WEIR FOR COWICHAN LAKE

This will require environmental impact analysis and engineering to identify both the best process to do this and if any repurposing of the existing system is possible.

Project manager Leroy Van Wieren said a number of studies have yet to be completed, and some bureaucratic details still have to be dealt with before shovels go into the ground to construct the new weir.

He said he expects the construction of the new weir, whose total cost has yet to determined, should begin in 2024, and it should take less than a year to complete.

The live online presentation on Dec. 10 (visit cowichanlakeweir.ca for a link to the presentation) will run from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., and a Q and A will follow from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The call-in number is 1-844-992-4726, and the call-in access code is 146 385 7474.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

B.C. Drought

Just Posted

Cowichan Valley school district to get new electric-powered bus by the end of the school year. (File photo)
Cowichan Valley school district to get new electric-powered school bus

Bus one of 18 to be distributed across the province

Condemned building of the Twin Gables Motel in Crofton is not safe and yet a teen has been climbing around on the roof while others were ripping the siding off the building. (Submitted)
Destructive behaviour by teens wreaking havoc on Crofton

Residents becoming fed up with the constant vandalism and fires

This tractor was stolen from Providence Farm near Duncan between May 6 and 7, 2021. (Submitted)
Tractor stolen from Cowichan’s Providence Farm

John Deere X300 model was swiped between May 6 and 7

The organizers of the annual 39 days of July festival hope to return to live shows in Charles Hoey Park this year, like in this photo taken in 2019, but audiences at the show may be limited to 50 people due to health protocols. (File photo)
39 Days of July hoping for outdoor events in Duncan this summer

Annual music festival will run from June 25 to Aug. 2 this year

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains in the B.C. legislature, May 13, 2019. (Hansard TV)
VIDEO: B.C. to provide 3 days of sick pay for COVID-19 absences

Province will support employers on cost, labour minister says

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 rate creeps up again, 600 new cases Wednesday

One more death, 423 people in hospital with virus

B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham takes questions in the B.C. legislature in 2017. (Hansard TV)
UPDATE: B.C. will fund another year of fresh fruit, vegetables, milk in schools

John Horgan government working on school meal program

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Surrey RCMP is releasing sketches of a suspect in an “indecent act” at the Coyote Creek Elementary playground on April 30, 2021. Police said the suspect was clean-shaven “during some interactions” and on “other occasions had stubble outlining a goatee and mustache.” (Images: Surrey RCMP handout)
Vancouver mayor-elect Kennedy Stewart addresses supporters in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver mayor says there’s no time to redo details of drug decriminalization plan

Kennedy Stewart says a federal election could see the small window of opportunity close on the city’s bid for an exemption from criminal provisions on simple possession of small amounts of drugs

These are just a handful of Vancouver Island’s missing person cases. Clockwise from top left: Lisa Marie Young, Lindsey Nicholls, Micheal Dunahee, Jesokah Adkens, Belinda Cameron and Emma Fillipoff. (File photos courtesy of family members and police departments)
Could Victoria skull fragment bring closure to an Island missing persons mystery?

Skeletal remains found in Greater Victoria have not yet been identified

Premier Mike Horgan received his first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. (Facebook/John Horgan)
More than 50% of people eligible in B.C. have received 1st vaccine dose

‘We’ve made extraordinary progress together over the past few weeks,’ says Premier Horgan

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the shooting of a Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation woman in the Ucluelet First Nation community of Hitacu on May 8. (Black Press Media file photo)
Indigenous woman shot by police was holding a replica gun, says Ucluelet First Nation

Woman has been identified as a member of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation

Most Read