Lower Cowichan River – Elevated Flood Risk Hypothesis

Also available: sketch with hypothesized ‘Sequence of Events’ sketch series with a ‘Mitigation Design’ concept sketch

Outside the remit of 2017 contract work for waterbucket.ca, I developed the hypothesis that the 2009 Lower Cowichan River flood became unusually worse because of the volume of flooding coupled with the architecture of the estuary.

The hypothesis is that the architecture (the natural and built topography and the ocean bottom of the exit to the sea) in certain conditions unusually leads to the creation of what I’ve termed “Saltwedge Lakes” and “Saltwedge Dykes” (the coined term “Saltwedge” referring to the hypothesized shape of formation of “salinity differentials”; which is the salinity differences of freshwater and saltwater meeting in a confined space).

Click for larger picture

This can be imagined as something like a snowballing mini-tsunami of back-flooding that constantly rises as it ricochets. Private investigations led to the learning that the phenomenon is not well known and is hardly studied. If occurrence is validated here, it is fair to be concerned that it will replicate and be worse in this era of Atmospheric Rivers and Sea Level Rise. Also available, a nature-respecting flood defences’ concept; an idea to mitigate damage to the subject area.

Perhaps modeling will lead to placement of “Cowichan River Back-flooding Early Warning Altimeter Buoys” in Genoa Bay and Cowichan Bay? Here is the note sent to one of the local governments [link].

Note: Developed in parallel with the validated hypothesis that a dangerous buried river channel flows beneath Koksilah Industrial Park. Channel presence confirmed by City of Duncan civil engineers: See note here [link] and at “Research Director, Pringle Strategy Services”: https://www.linkedin.com/in/davehuer/


Geo-Engineering Concepts for Arctic Re-freezing

I’d been thinking for months about ideas to create Arctic refreezing mechanisms. In June 2022, after reading about Sir David Attenborough’s “refreezing the Arctic” project at the Centre for Climate Repair at U.Cambridge, sent the Proximity of Desire framework (link to “B”); and then, after asking whether there was interest, sending the concepts.

Here is the concepts note sent to U.Cambridge [link].

Qanats & Windcatchers for Lytton BC

A civil engineering concept to help Lytton resiliently mitigate fires for generations to come…

The Village of Lytton, BC had a catastrophic fire in 2021, after a wildfire started in the early evening of June 30, 2021, after suffering the highest temperature ever recorded in Canada. After percolating ideas in the back of my head for a year, last weekend, I wrote up a suggestion and sent it to the Village of Lytton and Lytton First Nation; and then afterwards to leaders in the insurance sector (Insurance Institute of Canada, CISO, Institute of Catastrophic Loss Reduction). The suggestion is to propose a way to mitigate future risk in Lytton and similarly situated communities. The concept is to use natural resources to help retard future fires. The idea is to consider the opportunities that arise when the rivers and architecture of the landscape is seen as a fire defence resource. This is an example of my practice to periodically intellectually refresh…by taking a day, here-and-there, to do something else entirely different. Exercise for the imaginative mind.

1page PDF: [Link] = (A) Local natural resources + (B) Combining civil engineering technologies + (C) new civil infrastructure administrative framework,

A) (See PDF)

B) Civil Engineering Idea

Combine Lytton’s location architecture + two ancient technologies into a system to create a local “cooling bubble”:
  1. Water sources (currently the Thompson R. and Fraser R. (in future, perhaps aquifers and springs?)
  2. Moisture-Sourcing subsurface “Qanats” [underground aqueducts, known as Qanats in the Middle East and as “Puquios” in the coastal deserts of southern Peru and northern Chile);
  3. Natural wind and heat-activated Air-Cooling “Windcatchers”):

Inside Qanat aqueduct

Access well for Puquios aqueduct

How the windcatcher works

How the Windcatcher works


C) Fire Protection Infrastructure Idea

Create a civil infrastructure administration mechanism called the “District Fire Cooling System (DFCS)” to emulate the familiar “District Energy System (DES)”: https://toolkit.bc.ca/tool/district-energy-systems-2/ The concept here is to use natural resources to create a sustainable DFCS fire retarding system for the village.

  • Inside Qanat: Naeinsun, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Insideqanat.JPG
  • Puquios in Peru: Ab5602, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Puquios_aqueduct_Nazca_Peru.JPG
  • Windcatcher Diagram: Fred the Oyster, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Malqaf.svg