South Cowichan Watersheds Planning
Why we need a South Cowichan watershed Strategy?
Approximately 17,400 people live in the communities of the South Cowichan watersheds. The area’s temperate climate, high recreational and landscape value, and proximity to larger urban areas (Duncan and Victoria) make the South Cowichan a desirable place for people to live, work, and enjoy recreational pursuits. Water use for farming, cattle rearing, wineries and growing development has already put pressure on the water resources of the South Cowichan. These pressures and underlying conditions include:
A South Cowichan watershed strategy can help to address many of these issues by:
- building capacity, improving coordination of activities, pooling of resources
- enabling decision makers and the public to become more informed of the current health of the watersheds
- informing the development of both land use plans and infrastructure planning
A number of studies have been conducted regarding water quality and water quantity in the South Cowichan. These include:
- Shawnigan Lake Water Quality Assessment (Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection, 2004)
- Water Quality Assessment and Objectives for Shawnigan Lake (Ministry of Environment, 2007)
- South Cowichan Water Plan Study (WorleyParsons, 2009)nbsp;
- Water Matters (Judith Cullington & Associates, 2012)
- South Cowichan Groundwater Quality presentation (Ministry of Forests, Lands & Natural Resource Operations , 2014)
- Preliminary Groundwater Budgets, Cobble Hill / Mill Bay Area, Vancouver Island (SLR, 2017)
- South Shawnigan Creek Water Quality Study (Associated Environmental, 2017)
|The Shawnigan Creek watershed is the largest and most populated (10,200 people) of the watersheds in the South Cowichan. It has an upper area surrounding Shawnigan Lake with steep terrain in which all waterways flow to the lake. The lower area in the north of the watershed is less steep and includes several streams flowing into Shawnigan Creek.
The majority of the land immediately surrounding Shawnigan Lake has been developed residentially. Lands at higher elevations surrounding the Lake are primarily used for forest management and timber harvesting activities. The land adjacent to Shawnigan Creek has been mostly developed for agriculture and residential use.
|The Satellite Channel Benchlands has an approximate population of 4,600. This group of small watersheds is highlighted by flat benchlands segmented by a system of ravines. Water drains into many of the ravines and small creeks that empty into Satellite Channel and Cowichan Bay.
Lands are mostly classified as agriculture (66%) and residential use (26%). Pauquachin First Nations Hatch Point reserve land is located on the Saanich Inlet shoreline.
|The Malahat Benchlands have an approximate population 2,600. This group of benchland watersheds has steeper slopes, particularly in the south portion. Water drains into a system of large parallel creeks that start off at high elevation in the western part of the watershed and flow down eastwards into Saanich Inlet.
The majority of the land (68%) is for forest management and timber harvesting. Land in the northern part of the watershed has been developed residentially. The Malahat First Nations reserve land is located on the Saanich Inlet shoreline.