Imperial, California - With May being "water safety month," Imperial Irrigation District's safety mascot Dippy Duck and his team will be taking flight, landing at grade schools across the Imperial Valley between now and the end of June to promote the water safety message.

Between May 7 and June 11, an estimated 25,000 school children throughout Imperial county will hear the water safety message and be reminded of the need to stay away from the canal system and to swim in pools, thanks to the annual water safety campaign. Canal awareness messages are tailored to each grade level to reach a wide range of students.

This year's theme, "Stay Active, Play Safe, Be COOL," will be presented to 45 schools. "Children will be reminded to learn to swim and to swim only in safe places where a lifeguard or another adult is present-never in a canal," said Kevin Kelley, general manager.

IID operates and maintains more than 3,100 miles of gravity-fed canals and drains in Imperial County. Since 1959, the district has conducted a water safety program in elementary schools and preschools throughout Imperial County to inform children of the hazards of playing in or near a canal. Dippy Duck became official spokesperson and mascot in 1966 for the elementary program. Today, IID supports an additional campaign that reaches junior high and high school students with a similar message.

As part of the "Stay Active, Play Safe, Be COOL" effort, the message to adults and children throughout the county will be carried on billboards, radio and in the Imperial Valley Mall.

For more information about the canal system or the water safety program, visit, which has a link to Dippy's own website at where fun-filled interactive games and activities are featured. Local summer programs, pool and library locations and hours are also posted there.