Canals filling | Authorities urge caution around canals this season

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MURTAUGH, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - The start of irrigation season may be an exciting time for farmers, but it can also pose a safety hazard.

For children up to four years old, the Center for Disease Control lists drowning as the leading cause of accidental death.

Higher water levels and stronger currents — both can contribute to drownings.

"The banks are steeper and slippy-er than they look. It's just a bad place to be," said Troy Jones, watermaster of the Twin Falls Canal Company.

Although we've been fortunate to avoid accidental drownings in canals over the past few years, there have been several drownings in the past. It can happen to anyone, not just children.

Jones described the last incident he remembered "South of Hansen, we had a couple gentlemen out driving on the Highline canal. They drove into the Highline and could not get out of their vehicles."

But even playing in irrigation water can cause illnesses or even death from possible ingestion of feces, pesticides and other toxins in the water.

"Give them the facts about it and kinda just hope that he listens," said Ashley Casey, a local resident.

Casey works to keep her child safe, focusing on adult supervision.

"Always keep your eyes on him because anything can happen in a split second," she said — a responsibility that Jay Barlogi wants everyone to share.

"If we as a community can all get together and help spread that message and take the responsibility, we can save lives," Barlogi said.

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