Residents near Lake Cowichan say overnight, their forest has been flooded and hundreds of thousands of litres of water are still pouring into it, in the wake of a controversial aquifer test they fear could rob their water supply.
Packing water pails, a frustrated Ray Fenton headed into the forest near his Lake Cowichan home Wednesday to salvage some of the water rushing there during a stage 3 drought.
"It took about one to two seconds to fill up a five-gallon bucket," said Fenton.
"It shows you the flow rate."
Hundreds of thousands of litres of water from the aquifer he and his neighbours all share and have been conserving all summer long are being released, against hundreds of homeowners wishes.
"I mean they're pumping out 30,000 gallons an hour you know every hour for 72 hours," says Fenton.
On Tuesday, Lake Cowichan residents protested as the drill and pipes set up, but their appeals to neighbour Tony Kubica to stop the test he's doing over fears it could collapse the aquifer 500 homes rely on didn't stop him. Local officials also could find no law against the test Kubica's carrying out on the aquifer for a development he's planning.
So now many of the area's residents have turned off water pumps to their homes in hopes of minimizing the impact on the aquifer until this test is over.
"Having to go and collect five-gallon pails of water from their creek so that my animals can drink," said resident Ryan Simpson,
The area director for the Cowichan Valley Regional District, Ian Morrison. visited the site Wednesday and has enlisted the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources to look closely at the test and fall out.
"This sickens me because we ask our residents to conserve water it's for the greater good," said Morrison. "For the community, for the fish and to see a wasted resource like this just flowing downstream this is an unnatural thing during a drought.
The water is expected to keep pouring out until Friday when the test should be complete.