Walnut Creek school spreads message of canal dangers

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ByLaura Anthony KGO logo
Friday, October 23, 2015
Walnut Creek school spreads message of canal dangers
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With heavy rains predicted for this winter, an effort is underway in the East Bay to educate young people about the dangers of waterways.

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (KGO) -- In the Bay Area, an effort is underway to educate young people about the dangers of waterways that could flood because of El Nino's effect.

Flood Control folks in Contra Costa County admit it is a little hard to sell this message when the creeks look so small. However, if predictions are true, they want to remind kids that the benign waterways could become dangerous once the rain hits.

It may look calm now, but at the height of the winter, when the heavy rains come, the Walnut Creek Canal can swell by as much as 10 feet in a matter of hours. The frigid, fast-moving water can be deadly.

That's what happened in February, 2011 when two Las Lomas High School juniors died after trying to raft down a swollen creek that leads to the Contra Costa Canal.

VIDEO: What is an El Nino? Meteorologist Mike Nicco explains

With the possibility of heavy rains predicted for the coming winter, the goal now is to make sure kids in the area don't try anything risky.

"We are taking seriously the predictions that El Nino is going to bring us a wet winter, so we really want to get the message out to the kids, to the community, to the parents, that it's important that you stay out and stay alive," Tim Jensen from the Contra Costa Flood Control said.

That's why the leadership students at Walnut Creek Intermediate School took on a week-long project. It's especially important for students at that school because the campus crisscrosses the canal.

Students have decorated campus walking bridges with warning signs and held a lunch-time trivia contest.

Ten people have died in accidental drownings since the flood control channel was first built in 1965. It seems to happen about once every 10 years, so the hope is this generation will get the message.

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