Canoe Marathon Diary Note
by: Dave Macleod
Positive water levels enticing paddlers ahead of KZN river season
Pietermaritzburg - Canoeists in KwaZulu-Natal are relishing the start of
the summer season that leads to the FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon in
mid-February, as the end of the four year drought leaves them with very
good water levels in the uMsindusi and uMngeni catchments.
Since the spring start of the river paddling season, regular paddlers
taking part in the races on the Upper uMngeni below Albert Falls dam
have been relishing paddling on superb water levels, and the man behind
managing that water says the reason is twofold.
Kevin Trodd, the KZN Canoe Union Water Liaison Officer says the overall
dam levels are dramatically better at this time of year than they have
been at the corresponding time in the past four years.
“We are in a much, much better situation water-wise than we have been
for a long while,” said Trodd. “That’s great news for every resident of
the region, and as paddlers we also get to enjoy the benefits.”
Trodd said that the relationship with the Umgeni Water authorities who
manage the flow of water between the major dams servicing
Pietermaritzburg and Durban has also never been better.
“We have a great working relationship with Victor Hlope and the whole
team at Umgeni Water. They have a delicate balancing act to perform
moving water from one dam to another to best service their consumers.
“The key dam is Nagle Dam, so there needs to be a reliable flow of water
from Albert Falls dam to Nagle dam. That’s the main gravity supply dam
for Durban and ideally that needs to stay at between 60 and 70 percent
“What has really made us excited as recreational users of the Upper
uMngeni between Albert Falls and Nagle dams is the understanding that
water can be throttled back during the week, and the flow increased on
the weekends to allow paddlers to utilise the river at a safe and
enjoyable level, without compromising the water supply to Nagle dam in
any way at all.
“It has been exciting to see the uMngeni Water team taking a holistic
and far-sighted view on the management of the water, and the fruits of
that are obvious to see. It has had a huge effect on canoeing, and every
weekend, whether there is a race or just canoeing tripping or training,
there has been a big increase in activity on the river.
“It has also been excellent for the environmental condition of the
uMngeni valley on that stretch, so it is ticking a lot of boxes,” he
Trodd said that the upcoming Ozzie Gladwin Canoe Marathon was one of the
biggest on the local calendar, and paddlers could look forward to superb
water levels for that race.
“We have had a terrific level of about eight to ten cumecs (cubic metres
per second) for the last few races on the Upper uMngeni, which has been
really well received by the paddling community. I will be putting in a
request for ten to eleven cumecs for the Ozzie Gladwin, which should
make it a really memorable landmark event on this stretch of water,” he
Trodd added that the spin-off could be expected to continue for the rest
of the Dusi season, where Henley dam above Pietermaritzburg and Inanda
dam outside Durban were also central to their planning.
The 2018 Ozzie Gladwin Canoe Marathon takes place from Albert Falls Dam to Thornvale
Farm on Sunday 25 November. More information can be found at
Click to download the hi-res
Ozzie Gladwin Canoe Marathon
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Ozzie Gladwin Canoe Marathon
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KwaZulu-Natal Canoe Union
Water Liaison Kevin Trodd is excited by the current situation that
KwaZulu-Natal rivers and dams find themselves in ahead of the summer
The Ozzie Gladwin Canoe Marathon
often provides FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon paddlers with their first taste of
competitive action in the build up to the 2019 race when this year's
Ozzie takes place on Sunday, 25 November.
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