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Not a swim spot: Officials urge caution, safety around Idaho's canals

Posted at 5:56 PM, Jul 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-18 19:56:37-04

TWIN FALLS, Idaho — Idaho Water Users Association began Ag Water Safety Week on July 18 to inform and educate new Idahoans about canal safety.

The safety week lasts July 18-22 and takes each day this week to cover canal safety and ag water awareness.

Idaho has one of the largest irrigation canal systems in the country because of its rich agricultural industry. With a high influx of people moving to the Gem State, some may not know the dangers of these canals.

"These things are built for delivering water from Point A to Point B. They are not built for recreation and for fun. So, this is an opportunity this week to just spread the word about the value and the need to be safe when we are around these kind of facilities as we call them but these big canals that carry this water," said Paul Arrington, executive director of the Idaho Water Users Association.

RELATED: Canals support Gem State agriculture, without them it'd be a desert

Canals in Idaho are designed specifically for the transfer of water and pose a danger to anyone who swims in them. Idaho Water Users Association prompts everyone in Idaho to enjoy the states lakes and rivers for the safety of people recreating this summer.

"They have a swift undercurrent. The water is extremely cold regularly you're going to have structures under the surface of the water that are a part of the delivery systems. Cement boxes for example underneath the surface of the water that you can't see and if you hit could really injure yourself," said Arrington.

The draw to canals in Idaho is understandable when you are new to the area but letting newer Idahoans know about this water risk can save lives and keep people from making the mistake of swimming in Idaho agricultural water systems.

"You look for places to cool down, your kids want to find a place to cool down so I get the appeal and I get the draw. So many people are coming and many of whom have no idea what it means to what it's like living around this type of irrigation infrastructure, living in the heart of an agricultural community like in the Magic Valley," said Arrington.

For more information on ag water safety week, click here.