About the Watershed

News about the Cowichan Watershed and the Cowichan Watershed Board

Cowichan Valley Regional District vote allows raising weir

Andrea Rondeau, Cowichan Valley Citizen, September 12 2014

Water levels in the Cowichan River are criticalAs water levels continue to drop in the Cowichan River with no significant rainfall in sight, the Cowichan Valley Regional District board voted Wednesday to take action to try to prevent such a crisis in the future.

Seven years after it was completed, directors finally voted to endorse the Cowichan Basin Water Management Plan's last recommendation to store and/or access more water in Cowichan Lake during the winter and spring for use during the dry summer and fall months.

CVRD Taking Action to Resolve Long-Term Cowichan River Flow Problem

News Release, CVRD, 12 Sep 2014

Duncan, BC - The Cowichan Valley Regional District Board voted Wednesday night to endorse the  Cowichan  Basin  Water  Management  Plan's  recommendation  to  store  and/or  access sufficient  spring  runoff  in  Cowichan  Lake  to  sustain  river  flows  during  summer  and  fall. 

Completed  in  2007,  the  Cowichan  Basin  Water  Management  Plan  consists  of  89 recommendations  designed  to  help  ensure  a  reliable  water  supply  for  human  use,  thriving ecosystems, and a healthy economy.

Cowichan’s peaceful waters hide a growing threat

Sandra McCullough, Times Colonist, 31 Aug 2014

Low water levels in Cowichan LakeIf there’s no significant rainfall in six weeks, the Cowichan River and those who depend on it will be in deep trouble.

Salmon waiting at the Cowichan Bay estuary will have to be captured and trucked upstream — if there’s any water up there to spawn in — leaving other viable stock stuck at the river mouth as prey for hungry seals. The Catalyst pulp mill at Crofton, which is North Cowichan’s biggest source of taxes and employs 578 people, could shut down indefinitely.

The river, flowing at less than two cubic metres a second, is a source of water and fish, and a symbol of life for Cowichan Tribes.

The City of Duncan gets its water untreated from pristine aquifers that are linked to the river. If the drought continues, the aquifers might also be adversely affected. Nobody knows, but there are fears that things might get worse before they get better.

Costumed hero urges Cowichan to become water conservation Avengers

John McKinley, Cowichan News Leader, July 16 2014

A caped crusader has emerged to save Cowichan from the clutches of this summer's drought.

The kickoff to the Cowichan Water Challenge Saturday was interrupted by the arrival of a hero clad in blue tights.

No, Phil Kent wasn't doing his Clark Kent imitation, it was Water Woman with a message for all citizens of Cowichan.

"Since I left the valley many years ago I have travelled the world. I was in Australia when I heard a biologist mention the wonderful work the Cowichan Watershed Board was doing and the grave situation our great river is facing this year. When I heard that, I knew I had to come home," she said, striding purposefully out the doors of Duncan city hall.

Low water in Cowichan River threatening fish, mill and summer fun

Sandra McCullough, Times Colonist, July 15 2014

The Cowichan River is getting so low there’s talk of pumping water over the weir at Cowichan Lake just to keep enough water downstream for spawning salmon, industry and a myriad of water users.

The water flow in the river over the last few weeks has dropped to five cubic metres per second from seven.


13 Dec 2013


Nick Versteeg


DV Media/DV Cuisine (dvcuisine.com)

Province grants water-release extension to help Cowichan River flows

Peter Rusland, Cowichan News Leader Pictorial, June 5 2013

Water for fish and the Crofton mill received a provincial reprieve this year with Friday’s nod to delay releasing stored Cowichan River flows until later in July.

But local officials remain worried about long-term water-storage answers to droughts amid rising climate change.

“With continued low fall flows,something further has to be looked at,” said Gerald Thom of the Cowichan Lake and River Stewardship Society.


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