Summer campaign to educate about channel safety

Tuesday 21 November, 2017

A bright and fun campaign has been launched today by Goulburn-Murray Water (GMW) to educate our communities about the dangers of swimming in irrigation channels.

The Goulburn-Murray Irrigation District has about 5300 kilometers of irrigation channels. If placed end to end, they would stretch to Perth and halfway back!

GMW manages these open channels which are vital to provide water for rural, urban and environmental uses. However the channels also represent a real danger to people and pets, particularly as we enter the warmer months.

General Manager Customer Operations Scott Barber said GMW’s Don’t Swim in Channels campaign is about challenging the long-held practice of swimming in irrigation channels and any mistaken perception the activity is safe.

“The message is simple – don’t swim in channels because it’s dangerous. While a channel might look still and calm, water can be released down the channel at any time which means the conditions can change very quickly.

“Channels also have many hidden threats like submerged pipes and drains, varying depths, broken glass and rocks, strong currents, regulator gates or tree branches,” Mr Barber said.

The campaign aims to educate not only children, but teenagers, young adults, parents, guardians and families about why swimming in channels is dangerous and should never be attempted.

“We hope our simple campaign will help get the message out there.

“I encourage families in our region to start a conversation around the dinner table at home about how swimming in channels should never, ever be attempted,” Mr Barber said.

Keep an eye out for GMW’s channel safety campaign on Facebook, and more information is available online at