Massive waves expected in Durban in years to come
MORE of the massive waves that flooded Durban’s promenade last weekend can be expected in years to come, according to an ocean expert.
“We could see as many as six a year by the end of the decade so either we carry on doing what we are doing or we actively take steps to mitigate the damage,” said Andrew Mather, a project executive for coastal policy at the eThekwini Municipality. Sea levels were rising at a rate of 2.7mm a year, he said.
In the short-term, he foresaw the likelihood of such “overwashing” happening once or twice a year in the months of March and September.
“There is a 90% chance of more frequent events of this nature,” said Mather.
Durban is better placed than other cities to deal with the problem by being able to pump sand to the beachfront. “It works well. If it were not for the sand buffer the beaches would be more vulnerable,” added Mather.
He went on to say that it was originally predicted that the waves, brought about by a combination of a high spring tide, a full moon and a cyclone off Madagascar, would be 3.7m high. “In fact they were 5.5m. It caught us unaware.”
They were not as high, nor as damaging, as cyclone-driven waves that struck in 2007 and measured 8.5m, he said.
Despite this, Durbanites have been promised a clean beach for this long weekend, after the city worked around the clock to clean up damage. eThekwini municipal spokesperson Tozi Mthethwa said all city beaches, excluding Country Club and eThekwini Beach, were open.
“Beach clean-up operations and shark net installations are still ongoing at city beaches,” said Mthethwa.
Areas in front of commercial sites have been cleared and swept using a suction truck.
“In terms of infrastructure repairs, the majority of sea wall capping has been replaced.
“Plumbing has been repaired and the showers all work. Six of the seven missing shark nets have been recovered and all beaches between uShaka Beach and the Country Club had the nets reinstalled. The last remaining net was installed yesterday,” she said.