Three finalists awarded $150,000 to reduce drownings in canals — USBR

The Government Highline Canal flows past Highline State Park. Photo credit: Bethany Blitz/Aspen Journalism

Here’s the release from the Bureau of Reclamation (Rob Manning):

The Bureau of Reclamation selected three Canal Safety Challenge finalists to test their proposed prototypes that reduce accidents and drownings around canals. The Greenfields Irrigation District, Isotope LLC, and WGM Group, Inc will each receive $50,000 for testing at the Reclamation Technical Service Center’s Hydraulics Laboratory in Denver, Colorado.

The Canal Safety Challenge is a public competition focused on developing solutions to improve public safety and reduce drownings in canals throughout the United States and make egress from canals easier or allow for safer rescue and recovery efforts.

The three finalist’s proposals are:

  • The Greenfields Irrigation District’s proposed solution includes a unique ramp that would use the force of the water to help the individual get to safety. (Fairfield, Montana)
  • Isotrope LLC’s proposed solution includes a partially submerged deck that will allow people to walk, crawl or be rescued from the current. (Medfield, Massachusetts)
  • WGM Group Inc.’s proposed solution includes a unique scoop designed to capture floating objects at a pipe entrance and allow a person to get out or be rescued. (Missoula, Montana)
  • “Reclamation maintains more than 8,000 miles of canals throughout the West, and more than 10% of those are in urban areas.” Chief Engineer David Raff said. “These innovative proposals have the potential to increase public safety in and around canals throughout the Western United States.”

    In addition to the three finalists, Reclamation recognizes two submissions with an honorable mention for their novel solutions, Northern Water in Berthoud, Colorado, and Peltonen & Sardi of Bellevue, Washington.

    Reclamation is partnering with the Denver Water, Klamath Irrigation District, Pacific Gas & Electric, NASA Tournament Lab and Carrot. To learn more about this prize competition, please visit

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