Beat the Heat, but Stay Safe in the Water

Summer temperatures send many of us to seek relief in the water. Idaho Power reminds customers to stay safe when recreating on the water near the company’s dams. It’s also the time of year when potentially harmful cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) blooms (called HABs for short) may be present.

Avoid contact with water where HABs have been reported or where it appears a bloom might be occurring. Blooms can be blue, bright green, brown, or red and may look like paint, foam, scum, or mats on the surface of freshwater lakes and ponds, according to the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality.

Check for notices related to Idaho Power’s parks and campgrounds, or visit for statewide recreational water health advisories. Remember that HABs aren’t always plainly visible, and that boiling or filtering the water does not make it safe.

When you and your family are in and around the water, follow these tips:

  • Wear a Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device or a life jacket. Idaho Power provides loaner life jackets at many boat access spots along the Snake River.
  • Don’t wade, swim, fish or anchor your boat near a dam or spillway. Normal power plant operations can cause unexpected turbulence and rapid changes in the water level upstream and downstream.
  • Keep alert when near a dam and be prepared to leave the water quickly. Most Idaho Power dams have sirens and strobe lights that signal when dam spillgates are about to open. If you hear or see one of these warning signals, immediately leave the area.
  • If caught in rising water, stay calm and move diagonally across the current until you reach safety.

For more ways to stay safe in the water, visit

Brad Bowlin
Communications Specialist