Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls

Published October 10, 2011

A Nebraska school has rejected a Parent-Teacher Organization’s offer to donate and install a small waterfall as part of new landscaping at the school.

The waterfall was installed last year and temporarily powered with an extension cord to an outside electrical outlet during a school open house. The school maintenance department objected, so parents offered to hardwire the waterfall to offices inside the school so the water would fall only during school hours. An electrical contractor offered to donate the work.

The school turned it down. “It’s a liability issue,” said one school board member. The district’s insurance consultant said loose rocks from the waterfall could be thrown at the school and children might climb on the waterfall’s rocks and fall.

Source: Margaret Reist, “Waterfalls create too much liability at schools,” Lincoln Journal Star, September 4, 2011 available at