"Relationship-building takes time and sincere commitment, something I hope we can all commit to, as we create a community together. " -- Mayor Jon Lefebure, Cowichan Valley Regional District Chair, CWB Co-Chair (2018)
The Cowichan Watershed Board is a partnership between Cowichan Tribes First Nation, and the Cowichan Valley Regional District. It exists to provide leadership for sustainable water management and to protect and enhance environmental quality and the quality of life in the Cowichan and Koksilah watersheds and adjoining areas.
It does this by partnering with government agencies and stewardship organizations in the pursuit of seven "targets" for watershed health. The targets are aspirational goals derived from the Cowichan Basin Water Management Plan (the Plan). These targets are currently being reviewed and updated by the relevant Target Working Groups and the Board in light of progress made to date, and changes and challenges that have emerged over the past decade.
The Board is co-chaired by the Chief of Cowichan Tribes First Nation, and the Chair of the Cowichan Valley Regional District, with 10-12 other members appointed jointly by those partners, and including nominees from the Federal and Provincial Governments.
The Board normally meets on the last Monday of every month from 9:30am-11:30. Locations vary, including online and in person venues, so please refer to the meeting agenda for the location that month. Click here for meeting agendas.
In 2019, the Board set its top priority as addressing the growing need for increased water storage in Cowichan Lake to mitigate the low river flows during longer, drier summer/fall seasons now common in our changing climate. Working closely with Cowichan Lake and River Stewardship Society, the Board has been working to improve public understanding of the issues, the consensus to start planning for a new weir, and the consequences of doing nothing. For the most current information, visit the CVRD's project website www.cowichanlakeweir.ca
Another priority project of the Board over the past few years has been to support Cowichan Tribes and the Province of BC in the scoping and planning for a Watershed Sustainability Plan to address water challenges in the Xwulqw'selu/Koksilah watershed. For more on this, please visit koksilahwater.ca.
Update: On May 12 2023, Cowichan Tribes First Nation and the Province of British Columbia celebrated the signing of a precedent-setting Agreement (S-xats-thut tst). The Xwulqw’selu Watershed Planning Agreement builds on three years of government-to-government work by Cowichan Tribes and the Province and launches a Watershed Planning process. This will be the province’s first Water Sustainability Plan developed under the Water Sustainability Act, and will address the ‘whole of watershed’ needs – those of the flora, fauna, land, and the communities that depend on the watershed – in the development of long-term water solutions. Read the media release here.