The Municipality of North Cowichan has received permission from the province to use and divert water from the Chemainus River aquifer for the community of Chemainus during the summers of 2019 and 2020.
This allows North Cowichan to gather actual data on potential impacts to Chemainus River to inform the province’s decision about long-term licensing.
Since 2010, North Cowichan has supplied water to Chemainus via the Chemainus River aquifer between Oct. 15 and June 15 each year, and from the Banon Creek surface reservoir between June 15 and Oct. 15.
Each year, this requires a switchover between the two water systems and has resulted in numerous summer boil-water advisories.
In 2015, North Cowichan applied to the BC Environmental Assessment Office for permission to draw water for the community from the Chemainus River aquifer year-round.
In April, 2018, EAO granted North Cowichan an amendment to its Environmental Assessment Certificate to allow year-round operation of the Chemainus Wells Project.
Since then, North Cowichan has been pursuing the required permission under the Water Sustainability Act.
“The summer water source for the community of Chemainus has been a challenge for many years,” said North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring.
“What’s implicit in this decision is that there will be more technical work done to ensure that this water supply model is sustainable in the long term. But the permit is a measured and positive step forward, and will create an immediate benefit for the community this summer.”