We all use water—for drinking, bathing, watering the garden, and doing laundry. Water is essential for swimming and boating; for growing forests; for agriculture; for waste treatment; and for industry. Fish and other wildlife also depend on water to survive. But is there is enough for all our needs, both now and in the future?
In recent dry years, low summer water levels in the Cowichan River have put salmon populations at serious risk and threatened closure of the Catalyst Paper Crofton Division pulp and paper mill. Low water levels also mean less water reaching the aquifer that supplies Duncan and other communities in the Cowichan Basin, and less water to dilute treated sewage discharges in the river. At the same time, the population and the economy of the Cowichan Basin is growing, creating increasing demands for adequate, clean water supplies. In the future, climate change could affect rainfall patterns, increasing water management challenges.
So how do we make sure there is enough water for all our needs today and in the future, in all parts of the Basin from Cowichan Lake to the Cowichan estuary? To help answer that question, a partnership of government, industry, First Nations and community interests worked together to develop a Water Management Plan for the Cowichan Basin.
Cowichan Watershed Management Plan
The CVRDBoard received and approved the Cowichan Basin Water Management Plan in 2007 with the exception of two action items, changing of the rule curve to a rule band and raising of the weir.
Subsequent to that decision additional technical and community work has been completed and the CVRD is now in support of the revised rule band and working with other parties to address the long term water storage need.