Not far from Alexander Dam in Springs is a similar sized dam called Cowles Dam. Although the dam is fenced off and on Sappi property, the public are allowed to use the dam for recreational purposes. With that being said, Sappi have also advised that there had been reports of robberies in the past because of the nearby Gugulethu Township. The dam lies between Sappi paper factory and the mines and it is highly likely that pollution from the surrounding industries is making its way into the dam.
The dam itself is surrounded by reeds which go far into the dam, meaning very soft sandy soil underfoot. The dam is very shallow and even between 50m and 100m it is still possible to touch the bottom. At its deepest the dam is probably not more than 2m to 3m deep. And due to the pollution, the stench when you kick up the muck is unbearable. The dam seems to be stocked with a lot of barbel and carp. Reported recent catches include 200g bass, 3kg+ carp and 3.6kg+ barbell.
There are also health concerns in using the dam. Some visitors have reported that their skin was quite sensitive and stung when showering after wading in the dam. If this is from the water, it can only be imagined what the fish have to deal with, and what their health is actually like.
It is always advisable to contact the local municipalities or authorities before visiting and using dams that you are not familiar with.
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