About the Watershed

News about the Cowichan Watershed and the Cowichan Watershed Board

Eyes on salmon and weather as Cowichan Lake pumps installed

Susan Down, Local News Eye Cowichan, September 20, 2016

Pumps during installationLast week I watched a harbour seal cruise to the mouth of the Cowichan River and then capture and eat a hefty salmon, its tail still flapping until the end. The predatory seals are in position because they know that Cowichan Bay is teeming with fish waiting to begin the arduous journey up the river to spawn. With water levels extremely low this year, the annual salmon spectacle will be even more perilous.

Humans are doing what they can to assist. The river’s north arm has become completely plugged since last year. This week, excavation has begun to remove about 15,000 cubic metres of gravel from river bed.

Cowichan Lake needs a higher weir

Editorial, Times Colonist, September 3, 2016

After years of talking and hand-wringing, those who care about the Cowichan River have to overcome the obstacles and raise the dam. The Cowichan is world-famous for its trout and steelhead fishing. It has been declared one of Canada’s Heritage Rivers. It sustains life and jobs in the Cowichan Valley. It deserves better from us.

Cowichan River primed for pumping and counting

Susan Down, Local News Eye Cowichan, September 2, 2016

Despite the recent rainfall, the low flow of the Cowichan River is still a concern as local crews prepare to install pumps while fisheries scientists plan to set up a salmon-counting fence.

Catalyst is continuing preparations for the first-ever pumping event on the river, a dramatic emergency measure to keep spawning salmon healthy and ensure continued operations at the Crofton pulp mill during a drought year. The 20 pumps are set to arrive Sept 12 with pumping to begin about Sept 20.

20 pumps going in Lake Cowichan to maintain river level during drought

Carla Wilson, Times Colonist, August 26, 2016

Catalyst Paper is installing a $500,000 pump system in Lake Cowichan to maintain minimum water levels required in the Cowichan River.

It’s the first time that the company has turned to pumps.

It comes as the lake, which feeds the river, faces what has been deemed the worst year for early drought conditions, due to low snowpack in the winter and a dry spring.

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.

Early Spring Brings Drought Conditions to the Cowichan Valley

News Release, CVRD, May 26, 2016

Duncan,  BC  –  April  showers  usually  bring  May  flowers,  but  this  year’s  hot,  dry  spring  has
brought drought conditions to the valley instead. The snowpack is melting rapidly, lake and river
levels are at record low levels, and the forecast is for a hot, dry summer. Now is the time for
residents throughout the Cowichan Valley to think seriously about water conservation.
 
Provincial drought levels are updated throughout the spring and summer based on measures

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