Pumping over the weir in Cowichan Lake will not be required this summer. (Lexi Bainas/Gazette)

Pumping over the weir in Cowichan Lake will not be required this summer. (Lexi Bainas/Gazette)

Editorial: 2020 respite doesn’t mean we can take water for granted

It’s not something we can take as a sign of things to come

There are a lot of things we aren’t hearing about this year, that normally take up space in our public discourse, so we can be excused for not particularly noticing any one missing item.

Among the things that haven’t been in the news that would usually be splashed across our front pages are Sunfest, Lake Days, and the Youbou Regatta — all of which were cancelled or postponed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Numerous other community events from Canada Day gatherings to Honeymoon Bay Day have likewise left a hole in our lives.

But there is one item not related to COVID that isn’t happening this year, and that’s the discussion of what our drought levels are and whether the pumps will have to start up to keep the Cowichan River flowing. The reason for that? An unusually wet spring and summer that have left the river flowing just fine to date. It is anticipated that’s not going to change, either, and the pumps will remain silent.

For at least the last 10 years, by the time we get to August our rivers, streams and lakes have been in dire shape due to drought. The Chemainus, Koksilah and Cowichan rivers have been the subject of numerous advisories and warnings in the last several years, with last year being particularly bad. Restrictions were put in place by the province in the Koksilah watershed for the first time last summer, for example, and pumps at the Cowichan Lake weir pushed water into the river to keep it flowing.

We’re getting a reprieve this summer, which all of us, weary and worried by the pandemic, surely appreciate. But it’s not something we can take as a sign of things to come, or a reason to start taking our water for granted. While we have this reprieve, we should be looking at ways that we can conserve so when future droughts inevitably come along we are more prepared. That means everything from regional solutions like planning for the installation of a new, taller weir at the lake to store the winter’s water, to individual efforts that can range from drip or weeper hose water systems for gardens to rainwater collection systems and getting into the habit of conservation. This last can include everything from shorter showers to simply turning off the tap while we wash our dishes or brush our teeth.

We can’t afford to let one year’s respite see a return to bad habits or the mindset that our water supplies are an infinite resource.


Just Posted

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

Cowichan Valley WildSafeBC coordinator Amanda Crowston teaches a Grade 5/6 class at Ecole Cobble Hill last fall. (Submitted)
The bears are back in town and so is WildSafeBC

The bears are back in town so keep an eye out, reminds… Continue reading

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