Surveillance image of a group of children caught swimming around the regulating structure of the Woongarra Main Channel in Bundaberg. Photo: contributed
Surveillance image of a group of children caught swimming around the regulating structure of the Woongarra Main Channel in Bundaberg. Photo: contributed contributed

Bundaberg kids risking lives in local channels

EIGHT children have been caught swimming around the regulating structure of the Woongarra Main Channel in Bundaberg, despite SunWater's recent warnings that it is dangerous and illegal.

A member of the public reported the group, aged from 10 to 15, around 10.45am on February 1, and staff immediately attended and asked the group to move on.

Another group of four young males were caught on February 13 knee boarding behind vehicles in the channel area.

SunWater Bundaberg Service Manager Neville Wogandt said it was disappointing to see young people blatantly ignore warning signs to illegally enter the channel system.

"Irrigation channels are not safe for swimming due to a range of safety hazards, including submerged pipe inlets, siphons, hidden currents and steep slopes," he said.

"We have surveillance cameras at the Woongarra Main Channel, in addition to our regular patrols, and we have reported both incidents to the police.

"Swimming and trespassing in channels is strictly prohibited and we won't tolerate people putting themselves in danger and breaking the law."

Queensland Police Service Inspector Kevin Guteridge of the Bundaberg Patrol Group said the matters raised would be investigated by police.

"The areas are closed to swimming and other public access to prevent injury to members of the community," Inspector Guteridge said.

"People engaging in these activities are exposing themselves to unnecessary risks - the consequences of which could be fatal."

Mr Wogandt said the incident followed repeated warnings from SunWater about the dangers of taking risks around local waterways.

"We have recently seen people fishing near the outlet structure at Bucca Weir with a baby's portable cot balancing on the edge, at risk of being swept downstream," he said.

"It only takes common sense to read the signs, obey the law and avoid tragedy."

The Woongarra Channel System forms part of the Bundaberg Water Supply Scheme, providing water to irrigation customers through 122 kilometres of channels and pipelines.



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