CREATED Aug. 23, 2012
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Flood channels and washes designed to keep people safe are extremely dangerous. But in most cases, people who play in them are not breaking the law.
Flood control officials say storm water is extremely fast-moving and often filled with pollutants, rock and debris as it flows toward Lake Mead. But much of the system serves a dual purpose and is used for parks or walking trails when they're dry.
The only channels were you can be cited for a misdemeanor is where there are signs that specifically say "No trespassing."
Clark County Regional Flood Control District General Manager Gale Fraser says, "The main message today is: Don't go near the water where it's moving. Don't drive through it. Don't walk into it. Don't fall into it. Just avoid it."
Flood-related deaths and swift water rescues were common until the county began building the flood control system in the 1980's. Now, 90 detention basins and 573 miles of channels divert storm water to Lake Mead safely, when people cooperate.