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Canal Dangers During Heavy Rains

Jan 30, 2017 05:51PM ● Published by Jennifer Neys

Canal Dangers During Heavy Rains

The Walnut Creek Police Department recently posted the following on Nextdoor, and the Focus is reprinting, with permission, the following information on our channels. With the loss of two Los Lomas High School students to the canal in 2011, it’s a good reminder of how dangerous these canals can be.

“With the recent heavy rains our normally calm creeks and channels can become full of swift moving water and debris without warning. Please stay out of the creeks and channels and stay alive! We must take advantage of this opportunity to speak to our children and friends about the dangers of fast moving storm water and the almost certain fate that awaits anyone who goes into rain swollen creeks and channels.

The flood control channels are part of our community’s infrastructure and, like freeways or railroad tracks, should never be used for recreation. The flood control channels are designed to drain storm water from our communities and take it swiftly “out to sea.” preventing flooding. Water from the surrounding watershed area first gathers in small streams and creeks and then flows into the large channels for a swift trip to the Delta, Carquinez Strait, and San Pablo Bay. This storm water can pass from small open creeks to large underground tunnels; from narrow rocky stream beds to wide concrete channels; all the while gathering debris, speed, volume and power. At key points along the way, large structures have been built into the system to slow down the water and control the power. This allows the water to flow back into wide earthen channels without destroying their natural habitat or causing erosion. These structures are an efficient tool in managing our floodwaters but can be deadly for humans. 

If you see someone in any of our canals, please call 911 immediately! Keep visual on the subject and keep our dispatchers updated. Never jump in and try to rescue yourself. The water can be very deceiving and incapacitate you in a matter of seconds. Leave the rescuing to your fire and police experts equipped with the proper equipment.”


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