Province supports new weir to keep Cowichan River flowing (

Media Contacts

Jimmy Smith

Deputy Communications Director
Office of the Premier

Ministry of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship

Media Relations
250 893-4986


What to know about Cowichan Lake weir
  • The existing Cowichan Lake weir was built in the 1950s with the capacity to store 97 centimetres of water and designed to meet the industrial and environmental water needs of the time.
  • Today, due to the impacts of climate change, including decreased snowpack and frequent summer drought, the storage capacity of the existing weir no longer supports adequate water flow in the Cowichan River in the dry season.
  • Low river flows and high water temperatures occur frequently, negatively affecting the health of salmon and other species, exercise of First Nations rights, recreational opportunities on the river, and water supply for industrial and residential users.
  • The new weir will allow 70 centimetres of additional water-storage capacity in Cowichan Lake.
  • This will reduce the likelihood of low water-flow periods in the Cowichan River and the need to pump water out of the lake to ensure adequate water flows in the river.
  • Cowichan Tribes, the CVRD and the Cowichan Watershed Board have been working toward replacement of the Cowichan Lake weir for many years.
  • With the involvement of Paper Excellence (owner-operator of the existing Cowichan Lake weir), these partners have completed extensive public engagement, a water-use plan for the Cowichan Watershed, and a weir design and shoreline-impact assessment process.
  • In May 2023, the Province and Cowichan Tribes signed a precedent-setting agreement to develop a long-term plan for the Xwulqw’selu (Koksilah) watershed, located next to the Quw’utsun (Cowichan) watershed.