Cowichan Weir. Sharon Vanhouwe, mycowichanvalleynow.com staff.
With no help from mother nature since January, experts are going to start pumping water from Cowichan Lake, through the weir, and into the Cowichan River.
2016 was a very hot, dry summer and environmental experts had a trial run at what is happening, starting today, but then the rains came and the pumping of water wasn’t required.
Manager of Environment at Catalyst Crofton Brian Houle said the pumps will move water using a dozen pumps and while the pumps are running, the gates of the weir will be closed.
“They pump water up three feet and then horizontally over the weir, and they simply discharge it into the riverside of the dam,” said Houle. “We will start 12 pumps, we did a trial two weeks ago, we ran the river long enough to verify the river flow on pumps alone, we might have given it two hours.”
No rain and a snowpack half what is deemed normal are the main reasons why the 2019 drought has been the worst one yet.
Houle said if the conditions remain the same, the lake level will drop every day during the pumping.
“We’re predicting that the lake level will drop, this is all if the weather stays dry,” said Houle. “If the weather stays dry, the lake is expected to drop by 0.6 centimetres each day.”
Houle said, “The lake level has been decreasing since June 11 and the very dry summer of 2016 served as a practice run for this summer, as the pumps were ready to go, but then the rain arrived.
The pumping began at 11 am and this is a history-making moment in the Cowichan Valley.