Status quo on threatened river not an option

It’s never been this bad.

That’s what it boils down to.

The Cowichan River has never been this low, this early in the year.

Of course the Koksilah River and watercourses all through the region are likewise suffering.

Officials giving presentations on the subject point to 2003 as a benchmark low year – then tell us that the situation is more dire in 2014.

It is a great frustration that we have been able to see this crisis coming for years now.

How many times have we talked about raising the weir?

How many summers have we reported on the desperate need to do something so that the mighty Cowichan isn’t reduced to a trickle again next year?

Action has been lacking.

It’s been snarled in the tangle of who has the authority, who’s to blame, and who has the guts to finally decide to raise the weir, over the howls of protest from a group of lakefront property owners.

Well folks, it’s past time to put all the fighting aside.

The river is in serious jeopardy of running dry before the end of September, as there will be no more storage water left at the lake to supplement the river flow.

At that point, we’re talking complete catastrophe for both the fish stocks that live in the river and those that will be returning to spawn.

Then there are the health woes if there’s not enough river water to dilute outflow from the two sewage lagoons.

We’re to the point where even emergency action is likely impossible as getting a permit in time to run pumps would likely not be feasible.

That’s even if the more than $1 million dollars to run them for a single month could be found.

It is perhaps too late this year to do much but conserve as much as we can and pray for rain.

But we cannot do nothing to address the long-term problem and expect something different next year.

This is how we’ve been behaving to date and it’s sheer madness. Hope is a wonderful thing, but alone it is not a reasonable strategy to ensure a future for our river.

Whether the solution is raising the weir, putting in permanent pumps or some combination of the two, a decision is in order.

Welcome Sunfest The Cowichan Valley Citizen offers a warm Warmland welcome to all of the people hitting town this weekend for the biggest music event of the summer: Sunfest.

A proud media sponsor, we wish you all a great time as you enjoy some of the biggest supertars country music has to offer.

We want you to have one of the best weekends of your life, so be sure to take care on the roads this busy holiday weekend, and make sure you find some shade and stay hydrated.