The effects of climate change have resulted in drought conditions becoming the rule rather than the exception.

The Cowichan Stewardship Roundtable has reported that Cowichan Lake is at 40 percent capacity, a level that’s usually witnessed in August, in the peak of the summer heat.

Raising the Cowichan Weir has been something many Cowichan Valley residents have been calling for, for a long time.

To that end, speaking at the announcement of Paper Excellence acquiring Catalyst Paper at the Crofton Mill,  Premier John Horgan said Ministers Doug Donaldson and George Heyman, along with Paper Excellence staff and Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA Doug Routley are working together to change policies around water issues.

“We want to ensure that we can bring forward changes to water use policies that will protect wild salmon, will continue to create jobs here (Crofton Mill), and as we adapt to climate change we need to remember that the world is not going to be as it was, we need to prepare for the world as it will be,” said Horgan.

He said $900 million dollars is being invested in Clean BC climate change plans, which include maximizing saving water during the wet periods and not waste it during the dry periods.

Horgan recently announced Paper Excellence’s acquisition of Catalyst Paper and he said there are a number of assets that are in serious jeopardy with the lower water levels, most notably, salmon stocks and his government is going to make the best decisions possible.

“There’s a whole bunch of values that are at risk here, salmon being primary in my mind but, it also is important for, not just activities at this mill (Crofton), but other water users along the Cowichan system,” said Horgan. “We’re going to make sure we make the right choices for the people and the right choices for the watershed.”

Flow rates through the weir were less than five cubic metres a second at the beginning of last August.