Water pumping into Cowichan River to begin Thursday

Water levels in lake continue to plummet

Catalyst plans to begin pumping water over the weir on Cowichan Lake at 11 a.m. on Aug. 29.

Brian Houle, environmental manager for Catalyst Crofton which operates the weir at Cowichan Lake, said the water level in the river is continuing its downward trend and it’s been determined that pumps will be needed prior to the conclusion of the Labour Day long weekend.

RELATED STORY: COWICHAN’S WATER EXPERTS HOPE FOR SIGNIFICANT RAIN

He said the pumps will be started prior to the long weekend to ensure everything is in good order for the Labour Day weekend.

“The pumps will begin to provide the Cowichan River with the current and unchanged flow of 4.5 cubic metres per second,” Houle said.

“The lake level will continue to slowly decline as a function of our dry weather and due to the sustained 4.5 CMS flow leaving the lake. Pumping will continue for as long as pumping is required to sustain the river with 4.5 CMS flow. This early action of shifting river flow from gravity feed to electrically energized pump feed will have no impact on conditions in the river.”

Catalyst’s Crofton pulp mill, which depends on water from the Cowichan River to run its operations, has been planning to begin pumping water over its weir for weeks if the region didn’t get sufficient rain to raise the water levels in the lake.

The region is experiencing one of the worst droughts in decades and water basins in the region, including Cowichan Lake, are only getting about two thirds of the water they used to get in spring and summer.

RELATED STORY: CATALYST CROFTON APOLOGIZES FOR “LAPSES” IN COMMUNICATION WITH TOWN OF LAKE COWICHAN

Catalyst has 20 pumps installed at the weir and has confirmed that 12 of them should be enough to maintain sufficient water flows in the river.

Houle said that when the wet weather returns and the lake level again rises to higher levels that will support 4.5 CMS by gravity feed, the pumps will be turned off and the river flow will revert back.

“Weather conditions show continuing dry weather for next seven days,” he said.

“Wet weather is indicated for the end of the second week in September.”

Catalyst is also warning boaters on Cowichan Lake to operate their craft with “extreme caution” once the pumping starts.

RELATED STORY: CATALYST WARNS BOATERS ON COWICHAN LAKE OF NAVIGATIONAL HAZARDS

Water levels in Cowichan Lake are expected to drop by as much as 20 inches once the pumping begins, and that could uncover unexpected navigational hazards in the lake.

“The marking of hazards to navigation in Cowichan Lake has begun and will ramp up this week and in advance of the busy long weekend,” Houle said

“The lake has many hazards to navigation present already and the pumps have not yet begun to draw the lake level down. Boaters are encouraged to use extreme caution in Cowichan Lake due to the many hazards at these low lake levels.”

Chuck Walls, general manager at Catalyst Crofton, said the company has been collaboratively managing the Cowichan River since 2002 with First Nations, local government and other key stakeholders.

“Working together, we can get through this latest drought,” he said.

“Our top priorities are the protection of Cowichan Lake, Cowichan River and the town’s water supply.”



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Cowichan Valley man restores 1962 Qualicum Beach fire truck he bought for $1

Vintage vehicle in working order and ready to hit the road

North Cowichan pursues new flood mitigation plan for Canada Avenue

Municiplaity applies for $750,000 for $1.9 million project from UBCM

Editorial: Don’t let your road rage get the better of you

Road safety largely comes down to trusting the drivers around us.

Sidaway on fire for Cowichan’s Caps

Tanner Sidaway exploded for a pair of two-goal games in the span… Continue reading

Charles Hoey Park packed for Remembrance Day

101st anniversary of Armistice marked in downtown Duncan

VIDEO: Disney Plus gives Canadians a streaming platform that nearly matches U.S. version

The Walt Disney Company’s new subscription platform unveiled a comprehensive offering of nearly 500 films

Group walking on thin ice at B.C. lake sparks warning from RCMP

At least seven people were spotted on Joffre Lakes, although the ice is not thick enough to be walked on

B.C. teacher said he would use student to ‘whack’ two others on Grade 8 field trip

Campbell River teacher-on-call suspended three weeks after November 2018 incident

Petition to ‘bring back Don Cherry’ goes viral after immigrant poppy rant

Cherry was fired from his co-hosting role for the Coach’s Corner segment on Nov. 11.

Bill Murray dons iconic Hudson’s Bay scarf to watch Canucks game in Vancouver

Murray is in Vancouver to film The Now, a mini-series directed by Peter Farrelly

Canadian allergists’ group wants Benadryl behind the counter due to side effects

Some doctors say the medication is over-used because of its easy availability

B.C. government grappling with multiple labour disputes by public-sector unions

Public-sector unions may have expectations of a labour-friendly NDP government

‘We love you, Alex!’: Trebek gets choked up by ‘Jeopardy!’ contestant’s answer

The emotional moment came in Monday’s episode when Trebek read Dhruv Gaur’s final answer

Birthday boy: Pettersson nets 2 as Canucks beat Predators

Vancouver ends four-game winless skid with 5-3 victory over Nashville

Most Read