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Reservoirs are no place for a swim


With the school holidays around the corner, Mike Kane MP is supporting a vital campaign to keep young people safe at the region’s reservoirs.

United Utilities, the North West’s water company, is reminding people that reservoirs are deep, freezing and deadly – and no place for a quick dip.

There were a total of 381 drownings and water-related deaths across the UK in 2013,
with over half in inland waters, such as reservoirs, lakes and rivers.

Mike is endorsing the campaign, in an effort to prevent needless tragedy this summer.

United Utilities has more than 180 reservoirs which frequently attract risk-taking swimmers when the weather heats up.

Mike said: “I want children and teenagers in Wythenshawe and Sale to have a great summer break, but swimming in reservoirs can turn a fun day out into a tragedy.  Stay safe stay out of the water.”

Steve Hardcastle from United Utilities’ Health and Safety team said: “We’re looking forward to welcoming 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 statistically 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’re not trying to be killjoys or to prevent people from enjoying the summer. The risks of reservoir swimming are very real – and we want to people to stay safe.”

Incidents witnessed by United Utilities’ rangers at reservoir sites include:

  • A dad teaching his young son how to tombstone off a cliff into the icy water of a reservoir.
  • Two young children let loose 30ft out into the reservoir on an inflatable dinghy, attached only by a stretch of rope to their parents on dry land.
  • Teenagers jumping from a valve towers - mechanical structures used to take water. from the reservoir – unaware of the dangerous machinery and strong currents lurking beneath the water.
  • One daredevil breaking his leg after jumping into a reservoir and colliding with hidden rocks below the water.
  • Drunk teenagers jumping off a bridge into the reservoir.
  • Use of makeshift rafts made from pallets and barrels.
  • United Utilities’ rangers verbally abused when trying to keep people safe. On one occasion, someone tried to drag a ranger into the reservoir.
  • Dog walkers jumping in to rescue pets which have strayed into reservoirs.

United Utilities works with the emergency services, schools and other partner organisations to raise awareness of the dangers of swimming in reservoirs.

Educational materials, including a series of candid, hard-hitting videos about the risks and repercussions of reservoir swimming are available at the company’s website: www.unitedutilities.com/reservoir-safety  


Dying for a swim: the chilling facts about reservoirs

Reservoir temperatures rarely get above 10 degrees, even in summer. They are cold enough to take your breath away, make your arms and legs numb, and induce hypothermia.

• Reservoirs are often extremely deep, with sudden drops you cannot see.

• There may be hidden currents from water pipes below the surface.

• Hidden obstacles, such as machinery for water treatment, broken glass or other rubbish, is commonplace.

• It's hard to get out. The sides of reservoirs are often very steep.

• Invisible algae can often build up at the water edge, producing toxins that cause skin rashes and stomach upsets.

• Reservoirs are often in isolated places. If you get into trouble, there may be no one around to help.



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