Msunduzi council has given the green light to undertake desilting of the Camps Drift canal to minimise the threat of flooding.The canal is an artificial channelling of the course of the uMsunduzi River and requires periodic maintenance. The canal is currently silted up to 60% of its volume because the sedimentation basin was last cleared out in 2006 and major desilting of the canal took place in 2010.Chief engineering technician Kim Mather warned that if it is not desilted the canal will eventually fill up with silt and became a heavily vegetated wetland. He said it makes both recreational and economic sense for the City to maintain the canal. The City is already collecting R5 million annually in rates from properties including the Camps Drift Industrial Estate, and once the proposed multi-billion rand waterfront development is completed the potential additional rates income to Msunduzi will be in excess of R20 million per year.Other benefits that Msunduzi would accrue from the regular maintenance include the continuance of the annual Dusi Canoe Marathon, which gives the local economy a R16,5 million revenue injection. The hosting of the Canoe Marathon World Championships also gives the regional economy a R15 million boost every decade.It is estimated that keeping Camps Drift substantially silt-free over a 20-year planning period will cost Msunduzi R159 million, however the City’s infrastructure services unit requires R25 million for the desilting of different sections of the canal over the next three years.Ward 27 councillor Manqoba Ngubo said: “I fully support the initiative but with that said it would be fruitless if we embark on this exercise without making sure that the entire precinct is taken good care of and is looked after.”The desilting operation is expected to take up to 18 months and the process will have to be repeated every three years.