Duncan, B.C. – A water use plan is being developed for the Cowichan watershed on Vancouver Island. The project is being jointly administered by Cowichan Tribes, Cowichan Valley Regional District, Catalyst Paper and Cowichan Watershed Board. Catalyst Paper has a nearby mill in Crofton, B.C.

The group notes that changes in the demand for water, including environmental flow needs, as well as changing climate and land use changes in the watershed over the past 50 years are challenging the security and availability of water to meet the community’s needs. This has been increasingly evident over past years where there has been scarcity of water in the Cowichan River system over the summer months.

“Keeping the river running is critically important to protect a range of social, cultural, economic and environmental interests that rely on sustained flows in the Cowichan River,” states CVRD Chair Jon Lefebure. “This plan will provide a roadmap for the future defined by community residents and businesses with a vested interest in maintaining the health and vitality of the Cowichan Watershed.”

Development of the Water Use Plan for the Cowichan watershed will involve a Public Advisory Group (PAG) made up of representatives from First Nations, key stakeholder groups, and area residents who will participate through a structured planning process led by an experienced consulting team.

The Water Use Plan is expected to be completed in Spring 2018.