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B.C. puts $14 million towards new Cowichan River weir

B.C. puts $14 million towards new Cowichan River weir

LAKE COWICHAN, B.C. – The Government of British Columbia is putting $14 million in funding into a new weir for the Cowichan Tribes in Lake Cowichan, B.C. via the 2024 budget.

The funding would replace the 74-year-old Lake Cowichan weir with a higher structure that would 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. It would not raise the lake levels above their annual high-water mark or impact the floodplain boundary, a release said.

“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. 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,” B.C. Premier David Eby said in a statement.

The new funding is in addition to a previous $4 million provided to the Cowichan Valley Regional District 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 release said.

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