Protect our most precious resource, or we're all dead in the water

Oliver M. Brandes & Rosie Simms, Vancouver Sun, 24 August 2016

Patricia Clarke, Nicola Tribal AssociationRecent headlines — from the Nestle water showdown in Ontario, to the recognition of drought as the biggest health risk in Africa (even ahead of AIDS), to California and Australia facing persistent and historical levels of scarcity — demonstrate what a water crisis can look like.

Closer to home, last year’s panic-inducing drought and this summer’s failed Fraser River salmon run show the growing concern around our most precious resource: water. 

Catalyst Focused on Sustaining Cowichan River Flow; Pumping preparations underway

News Release, Catalyst Paper Corp., August 24, 2016

Richmond, (BC) – Catalyst Paper today announced that it is making preparations to pump water from Cowichan Lake into the Cowichan River to maintain minimum flow rates to prevent the river from running dry as a result of the negligible spring snowpack and the dry summer. Given current weather conditions, the company expects pumping may be required by mid-September.

Water Act less than it seems

Tanis Gower, Vancouver Sun, June 1, 2016

Will we be sucked dry?

This spring, officials in the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island had to make some hard decisions about water. Without an early intervention, the Cowichan River was at risk of drying up. An emergency decision was made to start holding back lake water, and by May 27 the river was already at low summer flows. With luck, a trickle will remain until the fall rains begin.

‘Very dry’ drought rating for Vancouver Island; reservoir cushions Victoria

Amy Smart, Times Colonist, May 30, 2016

The province is urging Vancouver Islanders and Gulf Islanders to conserve water, as most rivers and streams are experiencing very low flows, although Greater Victoria’s large reservoir puts the region in better shape.

Wth a “very dry” Level 3 drought declared, the province is calling for a voluntary water-use reduction of 30 per cent by all municipal, agricultural and industrial users, except those supported by reservoirs or lake storage.

Water levels dangerously low in Cowichan Valley

Robert Barron, Cowichan Valley Citizen, May 27, 2016

Unlike much of the rest of Vancouver Island, the Cowichan region is already experiencing drought conditions.

As of the middle of May, the region is at Level 3, or “very dry”, drought conditions, according to an analysis conducted by the Cowichan Valley Regional District.

The analysis, prepared by environmental analyst Jeff Moore, said the conclusions are the result of a number of indicators.

Drought Countdown

Susan Down, LocalEye.ca, May 23 2016

We like to count in the Cowichan Valley – salmon, raindrops, lake levels. After all, management guru Peter Drucker said that you can’t manage what you can’t measure.

But measuring is only half the job. Once they have the numbers, leaders can then decide which direction to take. In the CVRD, we should be acting, fast, to handle the drought conditions that could seriously harm our region.

Officials sound alarm over low Cowichan River water levels

James Goldie, Cowichan Valley Citizen, May 20, 2016

Cowichan RiverThe Cowichan River is in danger of drying up this year, and Catalyst Paper Corporation, which controls the flow of water through the Cowichan Lake weir, has begun reducing the outflow of water in order to keep that from happening.

It may seem counter intuitive — reducing the flow of water out of the lake at a time when creeks and tributaries are already drying up — but if the outgoing water isn’t slowed down now, what’s held back by the weir in storage will be tapped out by the beginning of July.

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