Tag Archive: water

New Cobble Hill Aquifer Interagency Task Group 

The Cobble Hill Aquifer Interagency Task Group (CHAITG)

Much of Cobble Hill and surrounding area is supplied by aquifer 197, which is a source of drinking water for several improvement districts, small water systems, domestic drinking water wells and industrial-commercial wells on non-serviced lots. Groundwater quality is a long-standing issue in Cobble Hill, with nitrate concentrations above the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality.

In late 2017, the Cobble Hill Aquifer Interagency Task Group (CHAITG) was formed to take a collaborative approach to address the multi-jurisdictional issue of groundwater contamination, and to evaluate the potential risk to groundwater users in the Fisher Road area.

The CHAITG consists of representatives from the Cowichan Valley Regional District, the Ministry of Forest Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Island Health, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Environment.

The goal of the CHAITG is to:

  1.    Undertake groundwater quality assessments to understand the current condition and location of the nitrate contamination;
  2.    Work collaboratively with regulatory agencies and land owners to eliminate additional sources of nitrate contamination to the aquifer, where feasible; and,
  3.    Identify concerns related to public health and communicate these to residents, well owners and water system managers in the area.

On December 18, 2017 CHAITG invited stakeholders from improvement district, water systems, etc. to report on and receive feedback on the CHAITG’s proposed work plan. The work plan for 2018 includes, but is not limited to, re-sampling select groundwater monitoring and drinking water wells in the Cobble Hill area.

The group will continue to meet in 2018.


No Snow could mean low water supply

Many don’t know that snow packs on the top of mountains provide us with water into the drier months. This time this year we should have 70cm of snowpack on mountains but we have none. CTV covers the story here: http://vancouverisland.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=550685&binId=1.1180928&playlistPageNum=1

It might seem weird to think about water conservation right now while the Cowichan River is all topped up but come summer we could be facing another drought.

Here on our little farm we have done what we can to save water by moving to a drip irrigation system and changing our showing heads.

Watershed Tour

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I had the chance to go on a full day watershed tour with Rodger Hunter last week. The group you see in the photos is various law students at UVIC who came to see not only the watershed but also to ask questions about our unique watershed governance structure that we have in place here in the Cowichan Valley.

We started at Lake Cowichan Weir and got a lesson on the relationship that we have with Catalyst (who currently own the Weir and water licence). I learned that the Lake acts as our storage reservoir for the summer months and the goal is a 7 cubic meters per second of flow down the river. Catalyst is one of the members of the Cowichan Watershed board as well as members from the community, CVRD directors and first nations. I learned from the UVic professor that our board is the only one to have First Nations as full members.

Ian Morrison, the director for Lake Cowichan/Skutz Falls, was on site to help give us some background about the challenges that face riparian areas and the lake cowichan area.

Next on the tour was the Cowichan First Nations administration buildings where the law students heard from a representative of the band about its role in the board and tasks that were underway with the waterways and the bands.

In the second to last photo are some of the CVRD staff who we met with behind the old Malaspina college. By the river, they explained the initiatives that the CVRD was undertaking, some of the misconceptions people had about water as well as way we are trying to inform the public about water in the Cowichan Valley.

Lastly, we visited the Cowichan Bay Estuary as well as the Estuary educational center.

I’m really taken aback by not only the size, scope and challenges of our watershed but also by the water champions, like Rodger Hunter, who have helped guide us in the right direction with a collaborative approach. I wish there was a way to get the word out more about these great people and programs.