As summer fast approaches, the mighty Murrumbidgee will become a popular destination for residents looking for some cool relief.
But underneath its muddied exterior lies dangers that have taken lives in the past.
The Wagga river is the sixth most dangerous drowning black spot, according to Royal Life Saving Society Australia (RLSAA).
Residents growing up in Wagga know all too well of this fact, but the city’s newer residents could be unaware of what lurks beneath.
Wagga African Association (Wafrica) secretary Frank Newah-Jarfoi said more needed to be done to educate Wagga’s immigrant and refugee community of the river’s perils.
“My fear is that (the city has) spent so much on upgrading the Wagga beach but not much on informing the community of the dangers,” Mr Newah-Jarfoi said.
He said Wafrica tried to get the ball rolling on educating the African community after the drowning of seven-year-old Rida Marco in 2011, but groundswell faded soon after the tragedy.
“When someone drowns there’s a lot of push for action, but nothing gets done,” Mr Newah-Jarfoi said.
SES Murrumbidgee Regional Controller David Buchtmann, who appears in a video for the RLSSA’s Respect the River initiative, said conditions in the river were always changing.
“The important thing for anyone using the river to understand is you can’t always see the risks,” Mr Buchtmann said.
Mr Newah-Jarfoi said African families could get in contact with Wafrica on 0423 731 011 to get informed of river safety.
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