Image of C canal in Klamath Falls, Oregon.

Image of "C" canal in Klamath Falls, Oregon.

Canal Safety

Open Date: October 22, 2020

Close Date: January 27, 2021 (CLOSED)

Awards: $250,000 in prizes

Learn more and meet the winner >>

The Canal Safety Challenge, a collaboration with the Bureau of Reclamation, Denver Water, Klamath Irrigation District, and Pacific Gas and Electric Company, is a public competition focused on discovering solutions to improve public safety and reduce drownings in canals throughout the U.S. and make egress from the canals easier or allow for safer rescue and recovery efforts.

Canals with swift moving currents and in-line structures pose a risk to public safety, particularly in urban areas due to the proximity of population to these conveyance features. Canals can look like an inviting place to swim or play, but the water can be cold and swift. Steep, slippery canal walls make it difficult to climb out of a canal once a person or animal has entered it. Most Reclamation canals were built in remote, rural areas. Over the years, increasing populations and expanding communities near these canals has resulted in approximately 1,000 miles of Reclamation canals in urbanized areas. With urbanization, comes additional risks of drowning.

Ladders, ropes, signage, and educational outreach has been conducted to spread awareness regarding canal safety; however, additional innovative concepts for facility modification may further reduce the public risk around Reclamation-owned canals. This challenge seeks innovative concepts, methods, and technologies to reduce public safety accidents and drownings in canals. Proposals that describe the sole use of fencing, ladders, buoys, signage, etc., as a solution are not eligible.

Related Documents
12/2021 Reclamation awards $100,000 for canal safety idea selected through prize competition
06/2021 Three finalists share $150,000 to reduce drownings in canals
10/2020 Reclamation seeks ideas to make canals safer to reduce drownings and accidents


Evan Lindenbach |

Last Updated: 11/4/22