Last summer, officials were forced to pump water over the weir at Cowichan Lake to maintain water flow in the Cowichan River, due to drought conditions. (Photo by Lexi Bainas/Lake Cowichan Gazette)

Last summer, officials were forced to pump water over the weir at Cowichan Lake to maintain water flow in the Cowichan River, due to drought conditions. (Photo by Lexi Bainas/Lake Cowichan Gazette)

Editorial: Start of work on new weir at Cowichan Lake good news

The problem is that the weir that we have can only do so much.

Sometimes it seems like we’ve been talking about a new weir at Cowichan Lake forever.

To be fair, it has been many, many years, and one could be forgiven for becoming skeptical that such a project would ever get underway, instead believing it would just continue to be talked to death in perpetuity by a succession of local politicians and advocates.

But we are happy to report this week that will not be the fate of this endeavour.

The Cowichan Valley Regional District announced last week that they’ve awarded a contract for design and engineering work to begin. They’ve also found a project manager. These are far more concrete steps than have ever been taken in the past, and demonstrate, we think, that though the project will still take years, that a new weir will indeed be built.

And it can’t come soon enough.

We had a little rain finally over the last week, but not enough to change the fact that this has been an exceptionally dry April. While all that sun was good for the spirit as we while away the hours in self-isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it wasn’t so great for our water reserves.

Already this spring the weir was put into operation earlier than normal, as officials anticipate another dry summer, and the days that have followed seem to so far be proving that prediction true.

The problem is that the weir that we have can only do so much. For many years it was adequate to the task of holding back enough water in Cowichan Lake to slowly release during the summer for the benefit of the Cowichan River and everything and everyone that relies on it, but with the advent of climate change that is no longer the case. We need to be able to hold back more water when it is plentiful during the winter months, as the snowpack is no longer doing that job for us the way it used to. This means a taller weir.

Keeping the Cowichan River flowing year-round is vital. It is a major artery that not only provides water for industry and people and our myriad activities, it also sustains the salmon, the elk, the deer and all of the other wildlife in its vicinity. It is literally the stuff of life.

We are pleased that our politicians have recognized the necessity of preserving our water flow with a new weir.

It won’t fix all our drought-related problems, and we all must be looking at the best ways we can do our part, but it will solve one of the predicaments with the widest ranging repercussions.


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

Just Posted

Crofton Fire Department members on the scene of Twin Gables fire in February of 2020. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Citizens’ group calls for action at Crofton’s Twin Gables Motel

Crofton waterfront site called an eyesore and a nuisance property

North Cowichan is looking for public input through a survey as it updates its Master Transportation Plan. (File photo)
North Cowichan looking for public input on transportation

Online survey to be held until April 22

West Shore RCMP arrested a 42-year-old man April 11 following numerous reports of someone firing a rifle in a Malahat campground. (Courtesy of West Shore RCMP)
West Shore RCMP arrest man after shots fired at Malahat campground

Police received numerous reports of a man firing a rifle outside his camper trailer

Photo collage of loved ones lost to substance use and overdose. (Photo courtesy Moms Stop The Harm)
B.C. overdose deaths still rising five years after public health emergency declared

Moms Stop the Harm calls on B.C. to provide safe supply in response to deadly illicit drug use

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has restricted indoor dining at all restaurants in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 indoor dining, drinking ban extending into May

Restaurant association says patio rules to be clarified

Titanic was the largest and most luxurious ship in the world. Photo provided and colourized by Jiri Ferdinand.
QUIZ: How much do you know about the world’s most famous shipwreck?

Titanic sank 109 years ago today, after hitting an iceberg

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

Two men were seen removing red dresses alongside the Island Highway in Oyster Bay. (Submitted photo)
Two men filmed removing red dresses from trees on highway near Ladysmith

Activists hung the dresses to raise awareness for Vancouver Island’s Murdered/Missing Women & Girls

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
Tougher COVID-19 restrictions in B.C., including travel, still ‘on the table’: Horgan

John Horgan says travel restrictions will be discussed Wednesday by the provincial cabinet

RCMP on scene yesterday at the altercation at the trailer park. (Submitted photo)
Violent altercation at Port Hardy trailer park sends one to hospital

Police say man confronted another over airsoft shooting, then was attacked with a weapon

John Albert Buchanan was found guilty of manslaughter in the 2017 death of Richard Sitar. Pictured here, Buchanan walking to the court in Nanaimo last year. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Six years including time served for Nanaimo man in bludgeoning death

John Albert Buchanan sentenced in B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo for death of Richard Sitar

Protesters occupied a road leading to Fairy Creek Watershed near Port Renfrew. (Submitted photo)
B.C. First Nation says logging activist interference not welcome at Fairy Creek

Vancouver Island’s Pacheedaht concerned about increasing polarization over forestry activities

Flow Academy is not accepting membership applications from anybody who has received a dose of the vaccine, according to a password-protected membership application form. (Submitted image)
B.C. martial arts gym refusing patrons who have been vaccinated, wear masks

Interior Health has already issued a ticket to Flow Academy for non-compliance with public health orders

Most Read