Matthew Canute was relieved to see rain falling on the Koksilah River Tuesday since it had been drying up in places just days earlier.
“Pretty thankful, said the Cowichan Tribes member.
“I was anxious because the fish really need the rain and its also the river.”
Nature began restoring balance with the sudden and substantial September rains after the worst drought on record in Cowichan Valley’s history.
“It was a record drought year particularly in the Cowichan,” said Fisheries and Oceans Stock Assessment Technician Stewart Pearce.
“Twenty-sixteen was the next worst drought on record and we had 60 per cent of the water from that year this year so it was really bad.”
Rains that started over the weekend came just in time for spawning salmon that have just now begun returning on the Cowichan River.
“We’re at the mercy of the weather,” said Pearce.
“And to have this rain happening and in the forecast is great for us and great for the fish,” he said.
The rains will also end a drastic life support that was hooked up on the Cowichan River three weeks ago. On Wednesday, 12 pumps that have been funnelling water from the lake, over a weir and into the Cowichan River to save it from running dry, will be turned off.
Catalyst says that Cowichan Lake’s water levels have risen five inches, or 12 centimetres, since the weekend, storing enough water to last the river 8 to 9 days and more rain is on the way.
The pumps will stay in place though, just in case. But there is optimism that the worst of 2019’s drought is now behind us.