As the summer rains arrive in KwaZulu-Natal, the preparations for the 2023 Dusi Canoe Marathon from 16-18 February have begun.
The April floods devastated the province and highlighted a number of concerns with regards to water quality in the the greater Durban and Pietermaritzburg areas.
These concerns are aligned with the race’s given the importance of safety and well-being of the paddlers that enter the epic three-day journey from the provincial capital to the ocean.
The event organisers have been working closely with the powers within the various municipalities and are positive that there are plans in place to improve water quality.
The Dusi is unique in that there are a number of factors that differentiate the water quality during the race from the regular day-to-day quality of the water.
“The Dusi Canoe Marathon receives three extended freshwater releases onto the course from Henley Dam, Nagle Dam & Inanda Dam which allow for a significant input of clean water into the river system,” member of the event organising committee Brad Glasspoole said.
When addressing the issue of ‘Dusi guts’, Glasspoole mentioned that statistics from the 2022 event suggested that it wasn’t common.
“The results of the medical tent stats and post event survey from the 2022 Dusi indicate a relatively small percentage of paddlers contracting Dusi guts.”
All the while admitting that work needs to be done in order to improve water quality, Glasspoole believes that canoeing is a critical mouthpiece in addressing these issues for the wider community.
“What is very important is that we acknowledge that the water quality is poor and that we as the paddling community need to highlight this issue to help improve the situation.
“This isn’t just for the benefit of our sport but more importantly for the benefit of the greater community living on the Msundusi and uMngeni river valleys.”
Given the unprecedented nature of the floods in April, the organisers are in the process of planning the 2023 event and keeping paddlers abreast of any developments.
“Plans for the 2023 Dusi are well underway with safety teams assessing the damage done to the valley following the floods and planning around the existing infrastructure.
“We are confident that that the 2023 Dusi will begin at the traditional starting point, Campsdrift in Pietermaritzburg, finishing at Blue Lagoon in Durban.
“The committee understands the fluid nature of the event and will exercise any other alternate measures should the need arise,” Glasspoole added.