Last summer, officials were forced to pump water over the weir at Cowichan Lake to maintain water flow in the Cowichan River, due to drought conditions. (Photo by Lexi Bainas/Lake Cowichan Gazette)

Last summer, officials were forced to pump water over the weir at Cowichan Lake to maintain water flow in the Cowichan River, due to drought conditions. (Photo by Lexi Bainas/Lake Cowichan Gazette)

Editorial: Start of work on new weir at Cowichan Lake overdue

The problem is that the weir currently in place can only do so much.

Sometimes it seems like the people of the Cowichan have been talking about a new weir at Cowichan Lake forever.

To be fair, it has been many, many years, and one could be forgiven for becoming skeptical that such a project would ever get underway, instead believing it would just continue to be talked to death in perpetuity by a succession of local politicians and advocates.

But we were happy to report that will not be the fate of this endeavour.

RELATED: Work begins on new weir for Cowichan Lake

RELATED: Cowichan Lake pumping begins Thursday to keep Cowichan River flowing

The Cowichan Valley Regional District announced last week that it has awarded a contract for design and engineering work to begin. They’ve also found a project manager. These are far more concrete steps than have ever been taken in the past, and demonstrate, we think, that though the project will still take years, that a new weir will indeed be built.

And it can’t come soon enough.

We had a little rain finally over the past week, but not enough to change the fact that this has been an exceptionally dry April. While all that sun was good for the spirit as we while away the hours in self-isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it wasn’t so great for our water reserves.

Already this spring the weir was put into operation earlier than normal, as officials anticipate another dry summer, and the days that have followed seem to so far be proving that prediction true.

The problem is that the weir that we have can only do so much. For many years it was adequate to the task of holding back enough water in Cowichan Lake to slowly release during the summer for the benefit of the Cowichan River and everything and everyone that relies on it, but with the advent of climate change that is no longer the case. We need to be able to hold back more water when it is plentiful during the winter months, as the snowpack is no longer doing that job for us the way it used to. This means a taller weir.

Keeping the Cowichan River flowing year-round is vital. It is a major artery that not only provides water for industry and people and our myriad activities, it also sustains the salmon, the elk, the deer and all of the other wildlife in its vicinity. It is literally the stuff of life.

We are pleased that area politicians have recognized the necessity of preserving our water flow with a new weir.

It won’t fix all our drought-related problems, and we all must be looking at the best ways we can do our part, but it will solve one of the predicaments with the widest ranging repercussions.


Just Posted

A Nanaimo driver was sentenced Monday for fatally striking a high school student with his vehicle in 2019. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo driver sentenced after motor vehicle incident that killed teen last year

Brandon Geoffrey Murdoch fined and prohibited from driving for two years

Nikita, a four-year-old German Shepherd that was attacked by a buck in a backyard in Esquimalt Sunday is lucky the injury wasn't more severe. (Photo contributed by Suzette Goldsworthy)
Esquimalt dog owner issues alert after deer injures German shepherd

Nikita needed stitches after an early morning encounter

Windy conditions in Nanaimo’s Lost Lake area. (News Bulletin file photo)
Wind warning issued for the east coast of Vancouver Island

Environment Canada says people ‘should be on the lookout’ for adverse weather conditions

Volunteers gather at Third Avenue and Mar Street on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020 to walk the streets of Uptown Port Alberni searching for people sleeping in alleys to hand out food and Naloxone kits. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Port Alberni tent city evicted again

Campers took over gazebo at Roger Creek Park

A deer pokes through the gardens at Beacon Hill Park. The Royal BC Museum. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Esquimalt mayor repeats call for regional approach to urban deer management

Province waiting on Oak Bay results, Desjardins says cost of duplicating process ‘considerable’

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

All dance studios, other indoor group fitness facilities must close amid updated COVID-19 rules

Prior announcement had said everything except spin, HIIT and hot yoga could remain open

B.C. Liberal interim leader Shirley Bond speaks to reporters from Prince George via Zoom conference, Nov. 24, 2020. MLAs are being sworn in for the legislature session this week, many of them also by video. (B.C. legislature)
B.C. Liberal leadership contest will wait for election post-mortem

Interim leader set to face NDP on payments for COVID-19

Construction has started on a new apartment complex at 1025 Ryan Rd. in Courtenay. Scott Stanfield photo
Courtenay apartment to contain 118 units

Construction underway on complex featuring rent-capped units

Aerial shot of a section of the Hartland landfill in Saanich. First Nations company KENES Transportation will be trucking biosolids from the residuals treatment facility at Hartland to the Lafarge Canada cement plant in Richmond (YouTube/Capital Regional District)
CRD, First Nations sign contract to haul biosolids to Mainland cement plant

Deal ‘hits the triple bottom line of positive social, environmental and financial impact,’ says CRD

Those looking for shelter at Warmland House may soon find that option limited as Warmland cuts capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic. (File photo)
Warmland House in Duncan cutting back on shelter beds due to COVID

Decision a safety precaution during pandemic

Product Care offers more than <a href="" target="_blank">150 free drop-off locations</a> in B.C. (
Recycling broken or burnt string lights can reduce holiday landfill waste

In 2019, Product Care Recycling diverted more than 11.6 million light bulbs from landfills

Most Read