DUNCAN, BC – B.C. is taking an important step forward in drought preparedness by supporting a new Cowichan Lake weir, ensuring the Cowichan River continues to flow and provide a safe and reliable water supply for people, businesses, the environment and wildlife.

“Last year, the iconic Cowichan River almost dried up as B.C. experienced record drought. Only emergency measures and giant pumps were able to keep the river flowing during the rainy season,” said Premier David Eby. “Replacing the Cowichan weir will allow more water to be captured, stored and used when needed. This will keep the river healthy, the fish swimming and better support the people of Cowichan during severe drought.”

The Province announced $14 million as part of Budget 2024 to support Cowichan Tribes in their initiative to replace the 74-year-old Cowichan Lake weir. A higher weir will allow more water to be stored in Cowichan Lake during winter months and released in a controlled way into the Cowichan River in times of dryness or drought. The higher weir will not raise the lake levels above their annual high-water mark or impact the floodplain boundary.

“People care deeply about our rivers and lakes, which are at the heart of communities like the Cowichan Valley,” said Nathan Cullen, Minister of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship. “I want to recognize the hard work of Cowichan Tribes and their partners in the Cowichan Valley Regional District and Cowichan Water Board for championing a project that will bring significant benefits to the area, such as greater food security, healthy habitat for fish, preserved cultural practice and a water supply that people and businesses can depend on.”

The Province’s additional contributions to the Cowichan Weir Replacement Project leverages a previous $4 million provided to the Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD) through the BC Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund, which allowed study of the engineering requirements to replace the weir, and $24 million already committed by the Government of Canada through a Federal Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund grant to Cowichan Tribes.

“The well-being of our territory and our people, our Quw’utsun Mustimuhw, is inseparable from the well-being of the Quw’utsun Stal’o. For us, every day is Water Day. Hulitun tst tu qa’ – water is life,” said Chief Cindy Daniels, Cowichan Tribes. “I am pleased to recognize the provincial government for this essential funding to replace the Lake Cowichan weir, which combined with federal funding, will support more suitable water flows for the river, salmon and wildlife, and our communities. We will continue to work with the Province to develop a collaborative and sustainable water-governance model to ensure the health of the watershed well into the future.”

Along with the Cowichan Weir Replacement Project, the Province continues to make significant investments in drought preparedness and water-infrastructure projects, including:

  • expanding the Agriculture Water Infrastructure Program with $83 million to help B.C.’s agricultural producers improve water management and water supply for crops and livestock;
  • launching new water-metering pilot programs in 21 communities, with $50 million to pilot new tools to better gauge water use and identify leaks, to conserve the water people need;
  • increasing the storage capacity and water management at Saint Mary Lake on Salt Spring Island ($10 million); and
  • supporting projects that strengthen and improve the health of watersheds in B.C. with $157 million for watershed security.



Please enter your name here
Please enter your comment!