Imperial, California - With desert temperatures on the rise and the need to remind the public that the safest way to avoid drowning in canals and drains is to stay away from them, the Imperial Irrigation District Board of Directors declared May to be Water Safety Month.

The resolution approved during Tuesday’s regular board meeting sends IID’s beloved mascot Dippy Duck into action. Each school year, he carries the water safety message to as many as 30,000 Imperial County students in elementary through high school to raise awareness about the dangers of canals while promoting safe practices.

The elementary school campaign, “Stay Active. Play Safe. Be Cool,” takes place between April 24 and June 11, reinforcing Dippy’s three rules:

  • Never swim in a canal.
  • Never play, run, walk or ride a bicycle near a canal.
  • Never jump into a canal.

IID operates and maintains more than 3,100 miles of canals and drains in Imperial County, of which many canal gates operate remotely, causing water levels to change suddenly.

The district has conducted the water safety program since 1959 throughout Imperial County to inform children of the hazards of swimming, jumping or playing near canals, with Dippy Duck leading the successful charge since 1966 as IID’s mascot.

Since then, the program has been tailored and expanded to include a canal safety campaign in high schools throughout the county.

In addition to Dippy’s intent to reach every school-aged child with the water safety message, IID also helps local communities by providing funding to support public pools and summer activities.
So, get on board with Dippy and “Stay Active, Play Safe, Be Cool” this summer by swimming in pools where an adult or lifeguard is present.

More information is available at , where fun-filled interactive games and activities are featured and information about local summer programs, pool and library locations and hours will be posted.