Irrigation Canal Safety

In the heat of summer, any kind of water looks like fun — a sprinkler at the park, your friend’s swimming pool, a cool pond or lake, or an irrigation canal. When we were kids, dipping into the canal by our farm might have seemed pretty safe, but now we know better. What started off as a fun splash in the water might turn dangerous in an instant.

Idaho is a beautiful place to raise kids, but our irrigation ditches can be a major reason some kids drown. Besides being filled with dirt, runoff, and pesticides, canal water doesn’t always look as dangerous as it really is. The water can seem gentle and calm, but mountain runoff can increase the speed of an irrigation canal’s flow to three or four miles an hour or even more. A child or pet who falls into a canal can be carried downstream before you might be aware that they’re in danger. In only a few minutes, your dog or child could be swept a quarter-mile away.

If you have kids, we all know that even with great parental supervision, sometimes accidents happen. If you have an open irrigation box near your home, the open water might be a real temptation some kids aren’t fully aware of, even when you warn them. Babies, young pets, and others may be at even greater risk. We might think that if a child or a pet falls into the canal, we’d be able to jump in and save them, but the reality is a little different. Once a person or a pet enters a canal, it can be extremely difficult to get them out, especially since canals often have steep (and slippery) sides or dangerous debris.

Ultimately, an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure. If you have an open irrigation box near your home, it does present a risk. One solution is to cover it with a durable custom box cover. It might be the best investment you ever made to keep your pets and family safe. Liberty Machine and Custom Fabrication can come out, assess the placement and dimensions of your irrigation box, and work one-on-one with you to build a box cover that will last for a long time to keep your pets, family members, and everyone else a little safer from the dangers open irrigation boxes can sometimes present.