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.
“Keeping the river running is the right thing to do to protect community interests, fish and wildlife, and to help avoid a temporary shutdown of the Crofton mill, which employs approximately 600 local workers,” said Brian Houle, Environmental Manager, Crofton.
If and when pumping is required, Catalyst will use approximately 30 per cent of the pumped water for the Crofton Mill and for domestic use by the Village of Crofton. The other 70 per cent will be used for conservation purposes to support fish populations in the Cowichan River.
If pumping proceeds, it is expected to continue until the lake is recharged from rainfall and is once again supplying the river. An independent, qualified environmental professional will monitor lake levels and provide a bi-weekly report to regulators throughout the pumping operation.
“We have made a significant effort to minimize any inconvenience to the local residents by tapping into power lines to electrify pumps,” said Houle. “This avoids noise, emission and fuel handling that would have been involved if shore-based diesel generators were used as was originally anticipated.”
Catalyst is committed to working with First Nations and local governments to find a long-term solution to ensure the health of the Cowichan River. This includes looking at options to raise the height of the weir, which would increase water storage and allow for greater control in future drought years to keep the river healthy.
Catalyst will advise the community if and when pumping is required.
About Catalyst Paper
Catalyst Paper manufactures diverse printing papers such as coated freesheet, coated one side (C1S), coated and uncoated groundwood, newsprint, directory, as well as market pulp. Customers include retailers, publishers and commercial printers in North America, Latin America, the Pacific Rim and Europe. With five mills across North America, Catalyst has annual production capacity of 2.3 million tonnes. Catalyst is headquartered in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada, and has been ranked by Corporate Knights magazine for the 10th consecutive year as one of the 50 Best Corporate Citizens in Canada.
For more information:
Environment Manager, Crofton Division, Catalyst Paper