Channel safety comes alive for Cobram students

Wednesday 20 December, 2017

More than 150 Cobram youngsters have taken home a potentially life-saving message – ‘Don’t Swim in Channels’.

A group of Goulburn-Murray Water (GMW) staff visited Cobram Anglican Grammar School earlier this month as part of a trial program to help spread vital channel safety messages to children in the region.

Cobram is home to more than 800km of GMW irrigation channels and the water authority is mid-way through its summer channel safety campaign. The initiative aims to teach communities, and in particular school students, about the dangers of channel swimming – which can include snakes, rubbish, pipes, regulator gates, varying depths, broken glass or chemical treatments.

Head of Junior School Mary Swoffer said the students thoroughly enjoyed the GMW presentation.

“A high percentage of our students live on farms in rural areas, so they’re the perfect audience for these important channel safety messages.

“The kids enjoyed the hands-on aspects of the presentation – in particular reaching into a bucket of muddy water to pull out objects, which simulated what might be found in a channel. Some were disgusted at what they pulled out, which helped to drive the message home,” she said.

Students were also shown a flume gate and taught about its automatic operation.

GMW Customer Service Coordinator Chris Ryan was part of the team visiting the school and said the kids were enthusiastic to find out about channel safety.

“I was impressed by the range of questions they asked. They were quick to understand the important message about never swimming in irrigation channels, and that a local public swimming pool is the best place to go this summer, with adult supervision of course,” he said.

General Manager Customer Operations Scott Barber said GMW was looking to carry out further educational school visits in the Goulburn-Murray Irrigation District in coming months to drive home channel safety.

“We are still in the early stages of our education program but there is some real value in this for our communities and schools. There is potential to expand this initiative in the future,” he said.

“Thanks to Customer Service Technician Toby Corbett, Customer Service Administrator Kimberley Heath and Project Officer Nichelle Schrader for their help on the day with this program,” Mr Barber said.

Please phone Rhiannon Horrell on (03) 5826 3660 or email if you are interested in having a GMW representative visit your school to speak about channel safety.