Coast KZN

28 Jan 2015

Umgeni mouth cleared of silt

Lorna Charles (Berea Mail)

Durbanites visited Blue Lagoon to watch as an excavator worked tirelessly to remove silt from the mouth of the Umgeni River to allow sea water to flow out of the flooded river mouth.

Rising water levels at the mouth of the Umgeni River at Blue Lagoon saw eThekwini Municipality clearing the sand bank and silt to allow water to flow freely again.

Durbanites flocked to Blue Lagoon today to watch as the municipality tried to clear silt which had clogged the mouth of the Umgeni River.

The mouth clogged up this week causing water levels to rise and covering reeds and mangroves beneath the water, flooding cycle and walkways as well.

Concerned runners, cyclists and those residing close to Blue Lagoon noticed the water levels rising under Athlete bridge.

Calvin Gabriel, a runner who trains daily along Blue Lagoon and the beachfront promenade said, “If the water was any higher, they would have had to close the bridge.
“I noticed over the weekend the water levels were raised but from Monday, even when the tide was out, you couldn’t see the reeds and mangroves whilst normally you see everything, but the water was standing so we alerted the Parks Department.
Gabriel said the problem had escalated over the week, “You can’t even cycle or run under the bridge. It took a while before something was done.” He believed the problem arose after the rock project at the pier in Blue Lagoon. “Since then we noticed flooding during high tide, prior to the project completion water would flow in and out normally,” he said.

Today, crowds of people came down to the lagoon to watch as an excavator dug out sand from the mouth so water could flow from the flooded river mouth.

While overseeing the operation, Godfrey Vela, a senior Coastal manager at eThekwini said the problem arose because there was not enough water in the Umgeni River to push the sea water out. “The lack of river water in the catchment area and recent high spring tides that pushed the sand up and formed a high sand bank, caused the problem. It is having a detrimental effect on the mangroves and flooded out the model yacht pond and part of the Windsor Golf Course,” explained Vela. He said another day of excavation is expected to bring the water levels down.