In late August 2015, Catalyst applied for approval to pump water out of Lake Cowichan into the Cowichan River for the fall of 2015 in the event that the river might start to run dry. Unusual late August rains recharged the lake and returned water ﬂow to the river, ending the drought conditions. However, climate change impacts leave the river exposed to future drought as Lake Cowichan water storage is no longer adequate. Therefore, we are amending our application from the original period of Sept 28, 2015 – November 15, 2015 to the fall of 2016 and 2017.
For 2016 and 2017, we intend to begin pumping if the lake level nears the bottom of the weir gates. Pumping will remain in place no longer than 49 days until rains recharge the lake so that it can naturally maintain at least 5 cms of ﬂow into the Cowichan River. The maximum quantity of water to be diverted would result in a draw down on Lake Cowichan from 161.40 m GSC to 160.80 m GSC (23 inches maximum draw down) if the operation lasts for the entire 49 day approval window. For reference, the water level on October 13, 2015 was 162.03 m GSC.
Catalyst Paper is open to hearing your comments and questions about this application. We are hosting an open house at the Lake Cowichan Centennial Hall at 309 South Shore Rd, Lake Cowichan on November 5, 2015 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. You may also provide feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org or in writing to Catalyst Paper, Box 70, Crofton, BC, V0R 1R0.
Objections to this application may be ﬁled with the Regional Water Manager, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, 2080 Labieux Rd, Nanaimo, BC, V9T 6J9, within 30 days of this notice.
The deadline for feedback is November 29, 2015.