Editorial: Pumping forecast a wake-up call on Cowichan water

It looks like we’re not going to dodge the bullet this year.

Catalyst tests out the pumps at the Cowichan Lake weir. (Ed Bonenfant photo)

It looks like we’re not going to dodge the bullet this year.

For the past three years Catalyst has been poised to have to pump water over the weir at Cowichan Lake to keep the Cowichan River flowing, but the rain has always come just in time.

This year, however, pumping is looking well nigh inevitable. That’s because the estimate is that without significant rainfall, which is not in the forecast for the next three weeks, pumping will have to start around Aug. 17. Fall rains are unlikely to kick in this time to save us from this extreme consequence of the drought.

The years of summer drought we’ve been experiencing have hit the area in very visible ways. All along roadways you can see the trees that are now dead and brown, years of water scarcity finally having taken the ultimate toll on them. It’s not unusual now to see dry river and streambeds where once water flowed or to hear about fish fry being salvaged from these drying watercourses earlier and earlier each year. Without the weir, one has to wonder what the lake and river would look like at this point in the season.

It’s baffling that some still stubbornly refuse to do even minimal water conservation, like not powerwashing their driveways at the height of a drought. Perhaps when the pumps start up and the lake level starts to drop — which it could by as much as 20 inches, we are told — it will finally be the wake-up call such doubters need to come to the realization that water is a precious resource, and it’s not endless, even when you live on a lake or a river.

Some seem to think that the comparatively little bit of rain we’ve had this month means that we’re not in a drought. But while the weather has seemed a bit on the cool side, and we’ve had a few wet days, these have, in reality, been little more than showers. They helped out backyard gardeners, but did not make an appreciable difference to the diminishing level of the lake, and they certainly did nothing to help store any water for the coming weeks.

Whether you think climate change is real or not (it is) and whether you think it’s human caused or not (it is), doesn’t change the fact that we’ve hit a tipping point here locally this year that many thought would never come — having to pump to keep the Cowichan River flowing. It only makes sense to look at long term water storage solutions. This includes raising the weir at Cowichan Lake to store more winter water for when we need it in the summer.

Just Posted

Join the fun at Rotary’s Ogilvie memorial golf tournament Aug. 23

Besides golfing with friends, you are helping fund worthwhile programs

British Columbia Chronicles: New Hope for B.C.’s most historic sawmill town

“New mill, new optimism after years of forestry decline in Port Alberni”—Megan… Continue reading

Cowichan Preschool wins legacy award

Cowichan Preschool was founded in 1977

Duncan’s Station Street Park may get a makeover

City of Duncan looks to make park more accessible

Public advised to stay out of the water at Fuller Lake Beach

Tests indicate bacteriological counts exceeding acceptable limits

Fashion Fridays: How to dress and feel powerful

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Kraft Heinz brand baby food recalled in B.C. due to possibility of insects

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says the product should not be consumed

First Nations women finally to be treated equally under Indian Act: Bennett

Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action thanked the feds

Helicopter-riding dog Mr. Bentley now featured on cans of new B.C.-made beer

Partial proceeds from every pack go to Children’s Wish

‘Easy Rider’ star Peter Fonda dies at 79

Actor and writer was nominated for an Oscar for co-writing the 1969 psychedelic road trip movie

Excavators help cute kid who copied their dig with his toys stay “safe at work”

Carson Carnegie wakes up at 7:00 am every morning to watch construction work on his street

Bob Lenarduzzi out as Vancouver Whitecaps president

MLS team is at the bottom of the Western Conference standings

B.C. daycare operator denies negligence in death of ‘Baby Mac’

Infant died in early 2017 after biting an electrical cord, according to a lawsuit filed by his mom

BC SPCA reopens animal cruelty investigation at Abbotsford pig farm

Additional alleged footage released from Excelsior Hog Farm sparks new investigation

Most Read