The close on 1000 paddlers entered for the FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon from 14 to 16 February can look forward to good water in the uMsindusi and uMngeni Rivers for the three day canoeing classic from Camps Drift to Blue Lagoon.
Good rains are forecast for the early part of race week together with the carefully managed water releases from the three dams on the river system will ensure the paddlers have good river levels to get them to Durban.
“It is looking great,” said the KZN Canoe Union Water Liaison Officer Kevin Trodd. “After another dry summer we are now in a position to look forward to a Dusi with good water.”
Trodd confirmed that the first day and a half will have the benefit of water from Henley Dam above Pietermaritzburg, which is no longer a water supply dam, and is currently overflowing due to the recent rains.
“That’s important because when we release the water from Henley dam it will go into a river system that has water in it from the rains, making the release from Henley far more effective,” said Trodd.
He added that the Umgeni Water staff will be staging their annual mandatory testing of the gates at Nagle Dam ahead of the second stage of the race, which should add a further 5 cubic metres per second (cumecs) of water in the uMngeni River that the paddlers will meet at the confluence rapids on Day Two.
Trodd said that the final decision on the water available to the paddlers in the form of the ecological release from Inanda dam from the final stage will only be taken by the Joint Operations Committee on Wednesday 13th February.
Trodd said that the plan was to have at least 7 cumecs available from Inanda dam for the release, which is the same level as last year’s Dusi, but that if the rains forecast for the week ahead materialise, there was every chance that the water released will be closer to 10 cumecs.
“It has been such a pleasure working with Umgeni Water this year,” Trodd added. “The communication of the needs of all the stakeholders has been excellent and they have very professionally managed the water from all the dams in the region.
“The positive impact that this has had on the sport has been significant,” he added. “The races on the Upper uMngeni River below Albert Falls have been superb thanks to their enlightened water management, which has left interest in the bigger races like the N3TC Drak Challenge and the FNB Dusi very encouraging.”