Water company tells people to heed the hidden dangers below the water’s surface

With this weekend set to be a scorcher, many people will be looking for ways to keep cool and refreshed while having fun in the sun. However, Anglian Water is issuing a plea during this week’s heatwave and telling people not to be tempted to swim in their reservoirs in a bid to cool off.

The water company have now teamed up with The Royal Lifesaving Society to warn people to stay away and not be tempted to jump into it’s large reservoirs at Alton, Rutland, Grafham and Pitsford or any other body of open water unsupervised.

Anglian Water’s Regan Harris said: “When the sun comes out we know the public, particularly young people, are more inclined to gather around waterways to socialise to enjoy the weather.  Although our reservoirs might be a tempting place to take a dip to cool off in the warm weather, there are many hidden dangers in them lurking below the surface.

upervised area, like the popular beach area at Rutland Water. Reservoirs are there as storage so we can supply customers with drinking water. This means they are very deep and the water can be extremely cold in places, even when it’s hot outside. This sudden change in temperature can cause cold shock which takes your breath away and makes it hard to swim.

“There are strong currents in the water and hidden machinery lies just below the surface, not to mention the mud and weeds which can trap even the strongest of swimmers.”

The advice follows a series of instances over the last few years where two young people tragically lost their lives after swimming unsupervised in rivers and reservoirs in East Anglia. One of those involved Huntingdon schoolboy Rony John, who sadly died in 2014 during the first week of the summer holidays, while playing with friends in the Great River Ouse. His death launched the poignant #RememberRony campaign across Cambridgeshire which raises awareness about the importance of water safety in rivers and open waters.

Regan added: “In 2017 nearly 600 people lost their lives to drowning in the UK, and over 40% of drownings occur in inland waterways.  Knowing how to stay safe in and around water is vital at any time of year.”

RLSS UK’s Director of Research and Education, Mike Dunn, said: “In previous years we have seen a tragic amount of preventable deaths as people flocked to open water sites not suitable for swimming. These sites included rivers, quarries, lakes and reservoirs – all of which have many dangers including very cold water, currents, obstacles and uneven depths. They look so inviting but can be deadly.

“We encourage people to enjoy the water in lifeguarded sites and to take safety precautions when enjoying activities next to the water as 60% of drowning victims had no intention of being in the water and were walking or running by water when the incident occurred.”

Posted by Anglian Water