Organisers of this week’s FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon have reassured concerned paddlers about the effect that the low level of Inanda Dam will have on the final stage of the race. They say it’s extremely unlikely that the race will have to revert to ‘low water rules’ for the 36-kilometre third day from Msinsi Resort to Durban.
Despite heavy rainfall during the week leading up to the race, the level of Inanda Dam remains at 60.32%, and with water restrictions in force across the region, paddlers are concerned about the water flow in the lower uMngeni.
Race General Manager Brett Austen Smith has stepped in to reassure paddlers that the base flow should be enough to support the normal racing rules that require the paddlers to paddle from Inanda dam to the Burma Road take out.
Added to that, Austen Smith pointed to further rains forecast for the remainder of the week. This could well result in water from key tributaries such as the Mzinyathi and Molweni Rivers topping up the water flow for the final leg.
‘Yes we have “Low Water Rules” on stand-by,’ said Austen Smith. ‘But right now we are confident that there will be enough water in the uMngeni for paddlers, even the K2 and K3 crews, to get through comfortably enough on the final leg.
‘We are fully mindful of the drought and back the efforts by the water authorities and municipalities to conserve this precious resource,’ he added.
‘Fortunately there is a base environmental flow that ensures there is some water in the system, and we’re confident that this will be enough to allow us to retain the normal rules for Day Three, instead of having to resort to the “Low Water Rules”,’ he said.
Low Water Rules will allow paddlers to carry their craft down the road to uMzinyathi Rapid, and if necessary to use a path alongside the river to Little John Rapid, where paddlers have the option of taking the Burma Road portage. After the Burma Road portage put-in, the river is usually normally navigable all the way to the finish at Blue Lagoon.