It may almost be the silly season, but there is nothing silly about water safety.
That’s why the Central Highlands Regional Council, SunWater and the Emerald Police are teaming up to spread the word about the risks of trespassing and the potential hazards when visiting dams, weirs and water channels.
With summer just around the corner, Senior Sergeant Peter McFarlane said it was timely to remind people of the dangers associated with swimming in our local waterways.
‘Heavy rainfall causes the weirs to overflow, and fast. A few years ago, we saw a terrible accident that resulted in a man drowning at the top weir in Emerald due to a strong undercurrent.
‘I urge all parents to speak with their children about the dangers of swimming around weirs and discourage anyone jumping from bridges and other water infrastructure. The last thing our community needs is a tragic accident this summer season.’
Snr Sgt McFarlane also reminded residents that some areas are illegal to swim in, due to exclusion zones.
SunWater’s Jason Smith, Operations Manager for Nogoa Mackenzie, said dams and weirs are great places to relax and have fun but they come with potential hazards and risks.
‘Most injuries around dams and weirs are a combination of being in unauthorised areas, excess alcohol consumption, skylarking, not boating to dam conditions, and general slips, trips and falls around recreation areas,’ he said.
Councillor Alan McIndoe encouraged parents to make sure their kids understand the hidden dangers and the meaning behind warning signs.
‘It’s about community safety and child safety,’ he said.
‘Council and SunWater have put these signs in place for a reason, but they’re no good if people don’t take them seriously and just ignore them.
‘Take the time, have a chat and set a good example. There are heaps of great places to safely go swimming in our region.’
Tips for staying safe at dams, weirs and channels:
- Look for hidden dangers – check for submerged stumps, rocks or weeds before entering water
- Keep a safe distance – stay at least 200 metres away from dam and weir walls
- Read the signs – they contain important information about hazards and restricted areas
- Remain aware – stay alert to potential dangers and keep a close eye on friends and family
For more information visit: www.sunwater.com.au/sustainability/water-safety