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Last modified: 20 Jun 2019
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Seekoei mouth opened

17 June 2019
Sea water has started flowing into the Seekoei estuary following the successful breach.

Sea water has started flowing into the Seekoei estuary following the successful breach.

Sea water has started flowing back into the Seekoei estuary following the successful breaching of the mouth.

Kouga Community Services Portfolio Councillor Daniel Benson said tonnes of sand had to be removed to open the mouth.

“The artificial breaching was necessary because the salinity of the estuary had reached dangerously high levels and fish were dying in numbers,” he said.   

“While it may sound strange to use sea water to lower the salinity, the salt level of the estuary had shot up to twice that of sea water.

“The inflow of the sea water could, therefore, actually help to decrease the estuary’s salinity and prevent further fish deaths.”

Permission for the artificial breaching was granted by the East Cape Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism in May after Kouga Municipality submitted an emergency Section 30A application in terms of the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA).

“Ideally, what we need, are strong rains to boost the inflow of fresh water from upstream, but that is beyond our control.

“While the inflow of sea water will not solve the problem completely, it should help,” Benson said.

He said the breaching and subsequent maintenance of the trench were being overseen by estuary expert Prof Tris Wooldridge while the Seekoei Estuary Management Committee would also be monitoring the progress.