While the rain over the weekend added a significant amount of water to Cowichan Lake, water levels in the lake have still not risen enough to shut the pumps down.
But Brian Houle, environmental manager for Catalyst Crofton which operates the weir at Cowichan Lake, said on Monday that if the water levels in the lake rises to the “zero storage” level, the pumps will be shut down.
“Rainfall expected this week could be enough to raise the lake level to above the zero storage level,” he said.
Houle said last Friday that the lake rose approximately one and a half inches as a result of the heavy rains that blanketed the region on Sept. 13, but the water levels need to rise an additional three to four inches before shutting down the pumps can be considered.
“We’re still very much at the mercy of Mother Nature,” Houle said at the time.
The water levels in Cowichan Lake had been dropping by about a quarter inch a day up to Sept. 13 since pumping began on Aug. 29 as the dry conditions continued locally.
Last month, it had been projected that water levels in the lake could drop by as much as 20 inches if dry conditions continue and the pumps stay in action for a long period of time.
The region is experiencing one of the worst droughts in decades and water basins in the region, including Cowichan Lake, are only getting a fraction of the water they used to get in spring and summer.
From Feb. 1 to Sept. 9, the Cowichan River has been provided 60 per cent less water than was provided in 2016, the previous worst ever drought year.