Editorial: Water bodies under stress from all directions

Our water bodies and all of the life they sustain are under increasing strain.

One thing has become very clear of late: our water bodies and all of the life they sustain are under increasing strain.

Last weekend, a man planned to swim the length of the Cowichan River to try to draw attention to deteriorating water conditions. A PhD graduate in natural resources and environmental studies, he named climate change and problems with toxic sunscreens that people wear into the river as threats. The crayfish population, he said, is a fraction of what it once was, and that’s just one example.

We’ve written in this space before about the need for water conservation, as salmon fry die stranded in shallow pools, cut off from Cowichan Lake and the river by unseasonably dry weather that has water levels already at alarming lows for so early in the summer season.

On top of that, invasive Japanese knotweed is thriving at the Lake according to Ken Traynor of the Cowichan Lake and River Stewardship Society, spreading it’s choking foliage to the detriment of everything else trying to grow. It’s the usual story. Japanese knotweed is pretty. People bought and planted it for its looks. Now it’s out of control.

Traynor also posited the idea of putting up a sign on the way into Lake Cowichan that would show the lake and river levels in a bid to get people to conserve water — both tourists and locals. We don’t think it’s a bad idea. Especially in the case of tourists, many likely come to the community with no idea that there’s any need to try to minimize water use.

The Koksilah River is in even more dire straits than the Cowichan, in terms of water levels, and those living in the watershed have been asked by the province to cut down on their water use.

As for sunscreens, we certainly advise people to wear them, or to cover up when in the sun. Burns can be serious, and too much sun exposure can lead to skin cancer. But instead of just picking up whatever is cheapest at the drug store before heading to the river to tube, or heading to the lake for a swim, maybe take a look at the ingredients and try to choose something that’s less toxic for the water, if you know you’re going for a dip.

Look for a mineral sunscreen containing zinc oxide, rather than a chemical sunscreen.

Just Posted

Baker and Barbarians take Paris World Games by storm

Duncan rugby player helps Canadian side to gold

VIDEO: Lake Cowichan council to grill Catalyst July 23 on ‘end run’ around weir pumping agreement

Councillors want community out in force at meeting to hear what’s going on with the weir

Valley field hockey players bring home gold from nationals

Cowichan U18s help Island to unprecentend first-place finish

Peewee B Thunder capture provincial lacrosse title

Cowichan goes unbeaten all year; Akhurst named tournament MVP

Rayner family shocked by theft of memorial fire pit from Lake Cowichan

Roasting wieners at the site is part of a fun ritual when the family visits Darreld Rayner’s memorial

VIDEO: Lake Cowichan council to grill Catalyst July 23 on ‘end run’ around weir pumping agreement

Councillors want community out in force at meeting to hear what’s going on with the weir

Injured fawn at B.C. vet will be euthanized Friday night unless claimed by sanctuary

Gilbert the deer is currently being treated at West Kelowna’s Rose Valley Veterinary Hospital

BC Wildfire Service warns wet weather no reason to be complacent

Fire risk currently low for much of B.C. compared to same time over last two years.

Bank of Canada lowers qualifying rate used in mortgage stress tests

Home sales softened last year after the federal government introduced new stress test rules for uninsured mortgages

Port Hardy RCMP cleared in arrest that left man with broken ribs, punctured lung: IIO

The IIO noted the matter will not be referred to crown counsel for consideration of charges.

Couple found dead along northern B.C. highway in double homicide

Woman from the U.S. and man from Australia found dead near Liard Hot Springs

B.C. man pleads guilty in snake venom death of toddler

Plea comes more than five years after the incident in North Vancouver

Trudeau says Ottawa open to proposals for B.C. refinery as gas prices soar

Prime minister says he knows B.C. residents are struggling and the federal government is open to ideas

Clock’s ticking to share how you feel about Daylight Saving Time in B.C.

Provincial public survey ends at 4 p.m. on Friday

Most Read