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The Utah County Sheriff's Office has issued a public safety adivisement for residents and visitors regarding water safety near rivers and other waterways

As citizens and visitors of Utah County, we are fortunate to have access to a county which affords a variety of areas to recreate in and enjoy. However, the Utah County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind the public to exercise care and vigilance as they spend time in recreational areas this Spring, particularly near the rivers and other waterways. At this time of year, it is not unusual to see the rivers running high and extremely rapidly due to the Spring run off as the snow melts in the mountains. This has, unfortunately, proven to be the case as recent tragic events in American Fork Canyon have shown. While the rapid river flow typically tends to taper off after about a week to 10 days, the Central Utah Water Conservancy District projects that these conditions may continue, in some areas, for up to six more weeks.

The high water and violent movement of the water can cause surrounding ground and rocks along rivers and streams to become slippery and dangerous. Additionally, the swift moving water can actually undercut or erode away the area below river banks. This can result in the earth collapsing and falling into the river. At this time, the public is encouraged to stay a safe distance away from fast moving waterways as well as keep a significant distance away from river banks to avoid falling into moving water and potentially being overcome by the strength of the rushing water.

Knowing that children and pets have a natural curiosity for water, parents and guardians are encouraged to keep a close watch on children and pets when near rivers and other waterways. It is advisable to require small children to wear life vests or other flotation devices in the event that they enter the water. Additionally, we encourage wearing clothing that will afford some protection from cold temperatures, rocks and other debris should an individual become caught in a water current.

The Utah County Sheriff’s Office would like to encourage the public to visit our recreational areas, rivers and other waterways but ask all to do so in a safe and responsible manner.

Reported by Lt. Yvette M. Rice, Public Information Officer for the Utah County Sheriff's Office (Office)801-851-4331 (Cell)801-420-3745 e-mail: ucso.yvetter@state.ut.us