Protecting our Water supply
There are several threats to our water supply including climate change, population growth and land use. Gone are the days when we could brag about having more water than we could possibly use, and trust that our aquifers and lakes would just refill automatically. We now have far too little rain and snow most of the year, and far too much every now and then that result in huge amounts of water being pushed through our system and into the ocean. The result is that we can no longer rely on water to be here when we need it.
Community water systems and individual water systems in the region rely on surface water and groundwater. 19 community water systems are CVRD operated. The other community water systems are improvement districts or private utilities.
Significant surface water reservoirs in the Region
- Cowichan Lake. A weir stores water so that it is available for users downstream. Catalyst withdraws water from the Cowichan River for delivery to the Pulp and Paper Mill and the community of Crofton. Water is withdrawn about a kilometer upstream of the Allenby Road bridge in Duncan. Cowichan Lake is also the water supply for the Town of Lake Cowichan which withdraws water directly from the Lake.
- Holland Lake. A weir stores water so that it is available for the Town of Ladysmith and the Diamond area.
- Shawnigan Lake. A weir stores water so that it is available for the communities of Shawnigan Lake and Mill Bay.
- Stocking Lake. A dam stores water so that it is available for use by the Town of Ladysmith, Saltair and the Diamond area.
What is being done to protect surface water supply
- Launching the Water Balance Model website so that you can explore how your property development/redevelopment plans can help our region better manage our (rain)water resources
- Building the Coupled Groundwater –Surface Water Model of the Cowichan Valley to understand the contributions of groundwater to the surface water system
- Developing the Agricultural Water Demand Model to understand the Region’s agricultural water needs
- Working with partners to develop pilot agricultural water plans for expanded use across the Region
- Assessing options and applying for funding for long term storage improvement at Cowichan Lake
The majority of our community and individual water systems in the Region rely on groundwater for their source. Residences, businesses, industry and the agricultural community in our region depend on groundwater.
There are 45 classified aquifers in the CVRD, Aquifers differ in the extent to which they hold water depending on the type of rock and soil. About half of the aquifers in the region (23) are sand and gravel aquifers and the other half (22) are bedrock aquifers