The normally pristine waters of Cowichan Lake affected by unusual algae bloom

The normally pristine waters of Lake Cowichan are anything but tonight. Something is causing the water to turn green. It is beautiful. But a closer look reveals all is not right.

Diana Gunderson grew up along the shores of Cowichan Lake. She says she’s never seen anything like it.

“We’ve had minor incidents but always localized. They come and go in about a week. But this, it’s just steamrolling.”

Gunderson and George leDure are going to test the water. Using a black and white disk, it’s lowered until it can’t be seen, usually at a depth of ten metres.

“90-centimetres where it’s usually ten metres, where usually it is ten metres.”

A local resident noticed the water changing Sunday, and alerted LeDure.

“This has increased in intensity in a week. This is much, much greener than it was a week ago.”

Because the Town of Lake Cowichan gets its water from the lake, Island Health issued a boil water advisory as a precaution. As a result, residents are stocking up on bottled water.

“Did you notice people buying water?

“Yes. Everyone is buying water.”

With summer around the corner, Cowichan Marina owner Shawn Shorsky was concerned enough to contact the Ministry of Environment.

“She reassured me that it was not a long-term thing, that it is short-term. She said, worst case scenerio, it can last up to a couple of months.”

“It’s very worrisome. It’s very worrisome. Because i’m buying water, I never thought i’d have to buy my drinking water.”

Further testing will continue this weekend. If the suspected cause is an unusual algae bloom, it could take weeks before the lake returns to normal.

 

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