Officials at the FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon are optimistic that the forecasts of better rainfall this summer will prevent a recurrence of the brutally tough third stage last year where paddlers carried their canoes for close to thirty kilometres due to the lack of water flowing from Inanda dam.
Kevin Trodd, the Water Liaison Officer for the KwaZulu-Natal Canoe Union, says he is heartened by the consensus of predictions in the major medium-term forecasting models that point to a wetter than average summer ahead of the FNB Dusi from 15 to 17 February 2018.
“We have a great working relationship with Umgeni Water and the Department of Water Affairs, and we collaborate in trying to manage what has been a tough three years during this drought,” said Trodd.
“We are all on the same page when it comes to arranging water releases for canoeing, and the FNB Dusi in particular, but the drought crisis that we have been battling supercedes our paddling needs.
“Having said that there are a number of reasons to be optimistic,” he added.
“Spring Grove is on-line now and water is being pumped into the uMngeni system, which is reflected in the good level of Midmar Dam. We have had good rains and snow this week which will also contribute.
“There are also factors relating to the management of the water supply for the greater eThekwini area as well. It makes business sense to pump water from Inanda dam to Nagle Dam so that it can be gravity fed to Durban, rather than pumped from Inanda which is more expensive.
“The drought is what it is,” said Trodd. “At this stage no-one can responsibility gives any assurances of the water situation in three months’ time.
“Due to the critical water situation, it would be unfair of us to ask Umgeni Water for any confirmation of water releases for the FNB Dusi too far in advance.
“We are in a better place than we were last year, and together with the predictions of the extra rainfall, paddlers can be optimistic about the upcoming Dusi,” he said.
“Nobody enjoyed the final day of the last Dusi, and we will do everything in our power to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” he concluded.