Rain has bought 8-9 days more Cowichan River flow

Just because we’ve had a bit of rain doesn’t mean the drought is over and we can stop worrying about the water crisis in the Cowichan River.

That was the message Kate Miller, manager of environmental initiatives planning and development for the Cowichan Valley Regional District, was giving this week as the CVRD announced a new website they’ve created that gives the public information on the current water shortage.

"What we really want folks to know is that when they look out the window it looks like the rainy season has come [but] we’re still in really serious drought situation here," said Miller. "It’s easier to communicate if you’ve got lots of brown grass."

But that is not our environment and the drought shows in different ways here, she said.

And while the recent rainfall has made a big difference in fire safety, reducing the fire risks in the Cowichan Valley, it has only bought the Cowichan River eight or nine more days at the current significantly reduced flow rate before the water storage in Cowichan Lake runs out.

Water is stored in Cowichan Lake by a weir that can control flows in the summer when things get dry, ensuring enough water for fish survival, waste dilution and Catalyst mill in Crofton.

This summer, flows have already been reduced below the recommended optimum levels to try to conserve the supply, but if there isn’t significant rainfall in the next few weeks salmon stocks are threatened and Catalyst mill may have to shut down temporarily.

"We’re most definitely not out of the drought situation quite yet," said Miller.

Conditions are changing fast, she said, and the website is a way that people can keep up with the day-to-day shifts.

There is information on the website about three key indicators: water supply in Cowichan Lake, water temperatures and water quality.

While much of the data is presented in a simple format that will be easy to understand for the casual viewer who wants to take a glance and move on, there is also the ability for those who want to dig a bit deeper to drill down on the issue, Miller said.

To take a look, go to flowdown.ca

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Paintings stolen from Honeymoon Bay studio returned

Hutchings said he received a lot of feedback from the community

3 people found violating court imposed curfews in Cowichan

People are placed on curfews for a variety of public safety reasons.

No parking on Thain Road, Shawnigan police remind

Warmer weather brings complaints near Cobble Hill quarry

No lifeguards this summer for Cowichan’s Fuller Lake, Arbutus Park; Crofton pool closed

Fears of risk to health and safety during COVID-19 pandemic to blame

You’ll have to pay to get on the bus again in Cowichan

Beginning June 1, fare collection and front door boarding started again

If Trudeau won’t stand up to Trump, how will regular people: Singh

Trudeau did not directly answer a question about Trump’s actions amid protests

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

VIDEO: Internal investigation into aggressive arrest by Kelowna Mountie

A video allegedly shows a Kelowna Mountie striking a man several times

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

John Horgan says COVID-19 restrictions won’t be eased regionally

B.C. Liberals urge ‘tailored’ response based on infections

Feds get failing grade for lack of action plan on anniversary of MMIWG report

‘Instead of a National Action Plan, we have been left with a Lack-of-Action Plan’

Search and rescue crews help locate 62-year-old Nanoose Bay mountain biker

RCMP: Man got lost on trail and did right thing by calling for assistance

B.C. ranchers, lodge operators say Indigenous land title shuts them out

Tsilhqot’in jurisdiction affects grazing, access to private property

As two B.C. offices see outbreaks, Dr. Henry warns tests don’t replace other measures

Physical distancing, PPE and sanitizing remain key to reduce COVID-19 spread

Most Read