Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter will be featured in a series of public service announcements (PSAs) airing throughout this irrigation season to promote canal safety. The 30-second PSAs were produced by the State of Idaho, the federal government and a consortium of businesses and broadcasters. They begin airing on radio and television stations throughout southern Idaho on May 29 and continuing through early fall.
Private businesses with a stake in Idaho's irrigation systems helped fund the campaign to leverage additional airings of the PSAs aimed at parents, children, adults and pet owners. The ads will air on programs targeting each demographic group, and also will be carried by Spanish language radio stations.
"With most public schools getting out for summer break this week, and with summer temperatures already here, we felt this was a good time to remind everyone of the potential threats posed by the irrigation canals in southern Idaho, and that folks needs to stay out of them," Governor Otter said. "These canals are vital to our economy, but they can also be dangerous."
On average, more than six children and adults drown in Idaho irrigation canals every year. In fact, more children in Idaho drown in irrigation canals than any other body of water. This year, for the first time, pet owners are being targeted in messages designed to educate the public about the hidden dangers of cold, swift waters.
The companies and government entities sponsoring the PSA campaign include the J.R. Simplot Company, Idaho Power, Idaho Farm Bureau Federation, Idaho Potato Commission, Idaho Water Users Association and the Bureau of Reclamation.
"I want to commend each of these companies, groups and concerned broadcasters for their leadership and good corporate citizenship," Governor Otter said. "I am convinced this is an important message that will save lives."