Albert Falls Dam full in three-year first

2009-02-23 00:00

For the first time in three years, Albert Falls Dam is more than 100% full.

This news has been well-received by uMngeni Water, but should serve as a cautionary warning to canoeists or other water sport enthusiasts.

uMngeni Water Hydrologist, Percy Sithole, told The Witness that uMgneni Water is relieved by the news — for now — because this alleviates water supply pressures in the system.

“We will have a full assessment by the beginning of May and until then cannot make any conclusions regarding the dam’s state,” said Sithole.

Sithole explained that the dry winter months often cause a drop in water levels consequently placing pressure on the water system; therefore, the consistency of dam water capacity is crucial in the coming months.

Kevin Trodd, chairman of the Canoe Union, warned canoeists about taking to the water.

“Normally the water flows between two to 10 metres cubed per second, but now the water is flowing at about 100 metres cubed per second.”

The canoe union issued a warning statement via SMS to all their members about the dangers of paddling in the dam that is flowing 10 times faster than normal.

“We cannot stop anyone from paddling, but urge all paddlers to be careful,” said Trodd.

The other dams, including Mearns Dam (128% full), Midmar Dam (103% full), Nagle Dam (100% full), Inanda Dam (104% full) and Hazelmere (101% full) have remained consistent in their capacity since the end of January.

“The rainfall count this year is higher than in previous years, but it is not so high that it is unusual. In fact, it is just about normal for this time of the year,” said Collin Anderson, spokesman for the Durban Weather Bureau.

He added that the rainy conditions would start “tapering” off from the end of February and then decrease as the year progresses.

“We can expect lesser or smaller counts of rainfall from the end of February.”

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