Channels not for swimming

CHILDREN are being warned of the dangers they face swimming in irrigation channels, following a series of complaints made to police at the weekend.

Bundaberg police Sergeant Mike McLellan said three separate complaints were made about a group of youths, aged seven to 15, who were seen swimming in the irrigation channel near the Ring Rd on both Saturday and Sunday.

"Because of the hot weather, kids are looking to cool off a bit, and they chose the irrigation channels to do so," he said.

Sgt McLellan said children were unaware of the dangers they faced swimming in the channels.

"If the channels are flushed out, there could be vines or logs that they could dive on, or get caught in," he said.

"If they're not a strong swimmer, they could get tangled."

He said it seemed to be only on the weekends that police received complaints.

"On most occasions, they've gone before police arrive," he said.

Sgt McLellan said the "high risk" behaviour could result in tragedy.

"You'd hate to think that a child could drown in that situation - it's quite possible," he said.

SunWater area operations manager Neville Wogandt echoed the message that irrigation channels were not safe to swim in under any circumstances.

"Automatic gates in the channels can change the flow and depth of water quickly, making the environment unpredictable," he said.

"The sides of channels are also very slippery, making it easy to slip and fall and difficult to get out."

Mr Wogandt said there was clear signage around irrigation channels urging the public to stay clear of them and making it clear that swimming was not permitted.

"We understand that when the weather is hot, people look for places to swim," he said.

"However, swimming in the channels is extremely dangerous and those who risk this run a high chance of drowning."

SunWater liaises with police to monitor irrigation channels in the Bundaberg region, and encourages people to get in contact with the company or police if anyone is seen swimming in the irrigation channels.

To report dangerous behaviour in irrigation channels, call SunWater on 13 15 89 or Bundaberg police on 4153 9111.

 

SunWater's Safety Campaign

SunWater is escalating its child water safety campaign, called Blue's Splash, which teaches children to play safely and stay away from dams, weirs and water channels.

The campaign features a short video, safety resources and games, which will soon be available in schools.



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