Home In focus Don’t risk your life at a reservoir

Don’t risk your life at a reservoir

by Laura Johnston

A campaign by United Utilities is warning people of the dangers of swimming in reservoirs and urging them to think twice before jumping in to cool down this summer.

The summer season is the time when risk takers are mostly likely to take the plunge and United Utilities’ research reveals that a third of people in the North West would consider swimming in a reservoir to cool down in hot weather. Statistics show that 300 people in the UK died from drowning last year alone so please, no matter how hot it is, stay safe and stay out of reservoirs.

As well as risk of drowning, there is also risk of catching hypothermia; reservoir temperatures are usually below 10 degrees and are cold enough to take your breath away. Reservoirs can have cold enough water to numb your body, causing even the strongest of swimmers difficulty.

There may be hidden objects in them such as machinery, glass and rubbish that can cause you harm. Reservoirs are also often deep with hidden drops meaning you could find yourself in trouble unexpectedly.

Matt Upton, United Utilities’ Water Catchment Manager, said: “We’re expecting thousands of visitors to our reservoir sites this summer. We only have one condition – please stay out of the water. The last thing we want is for a fun day out to turn into a tragedy.

“While teenagers are the most likely to put themselves in harm’s way, we’ve seen adults and even parents with young children taking the plunge, not realising just how much danger they are in.

“We don’t want to stop people from having an adventurous summer.  But there are much safer ways to get an adrenaline fix.”