Windhoek Berg River
Canoe Marathon Media Release
Great water guaranteed for Windhoek Berg
Cape Town – Organisers of the
Windhoek Berg River Canoe marathon that starts in Paarl on
Wednesday 13 July have reassured the record entry of paddlers
that the quality and quantity of water in the river will be
excellent for the four day 243km race to Port Owen in Velddrif.
While the level of the Berg river, particularly in the upper
reaches below Paarl, has dropped dramatically to a modest 8 cumec
flow during the uncharacteristically dry midwinter week, the race
committee has confirmed that a water release has been negotiated
with the Department of Water Affairs to ensure there is good
water throughout the race.
“We have requested a flow of 25 cumecs for the race,” said race
committee chair Andre Collins. “The release from the dam will
probably start on Monday morning to ensure that the water gets
downriver in time. The paddlers will probably have around 20
cumecs to enjoy, which is a great level for the race,” he added.
The confirmed water release will be welcome news for the 355
paddlers that have already entered, particularly those that have
been battling with their training on the low river at present.
Collins also highlighted that the rolling bluegum eradication
programme being driven by the DWAF Working For Water programme
had also had a major impact on the river.
“The clearing of treeblocks has been simply massive,” said
Collins. “Right now there is only one spot where a tree block
might need a portage, and they are working on it at the moment.
The removal of the treeblocks has been amazing.”
“In fact the impact that the cutting and removal of the bluegums
has had is almost surreal,” he added. “I paddled recently from
Hermon and I actually got quite disorientated.”
“I saw farmlands that we have not been able to see from the river
for decades. Hopefully this will see the return of the natural
vegetation and the palmiet channel’s that were so typical of the
Berg,” said Collins.
He also confirmed that the latest readings on the water quality
were positive and showed that the concerns from the recent
Swartland marathon were now a thing of the past.
“The water is clean and clear,” said Collins. “The problems with
the Swartland marathon were simply a case of bad timing. The race
coincided with the first major storms of the winter and that
inevitably results in pollution from runoff from the banks.”
Collins added that the likely water for the race was as close to
perfect as the race organisers could have hoped for.
“The Berg river dam is over 80% full, so it has the capacity to
control water levels in case of any heavy rains. The 20 cumecs we
should be racing on is ideal and clean, as the water is very
clean and comes from high up in the mountains,” he said.
He added that the expected 20 cumec level actually made the
paddling faster along key sections, as the river flow was
concentrated in the banks, resulting in a quicker flow when
compared to fuller conditions when the river bursts its banks.
The Windhoek Berg River Canoe Marathon takes place from 13 to 16
July 2011, preceded by a time trial on 12 July.
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"The 20 cumecs we should be
racing on is ideal and clean, as the water is very clean and
comes from high up in the mountains,” said Andre Collins, chair
of the 2011 Windhoek Berg river canoe marathon organising
Treeblocks like this one
should be a thing of the past in the Windhoek Berg River canoe
marathon thanks to the Working For Water programme that is
removing bluegum trees from the river basin.
Mouton van Zyl/
Windhoek Berg River Canoe
Marathon 2011 Logo
Horizontal on white - JPeg
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