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Press release

Don’t Swim on a Whim! New water industry campaign to remind public of the dangers of unauthorised swimming in reservoirs

This summer, Water UK is reminding the public of the dangers of unauthorised swimming in reservoirs with a simple message – don’t swim on a whim!

With temperatures hitting new highs and the start of the school summer holiday, many will be looking for ways to pass the day and stay cool. While reservoirs can look enticing to swim in, they do contain several hidden dangers. These include:

  • Dangers below the surface – reservoirs are nearly always man-made and likely to have heavy machinery under the water and strong, dangerous currents
  • Cold water temperatures – even on hot days, the water can be very cold, and you could experience cold shock upon entering the water. This can affect even the strongest swimmers
  • Remote locations – reservoirs are sometimes in remote locations, meaning it could take longer for emergency services to reach the location should anyone get into trouble

Water companies want to keep everyone safe and it’s important to check the rules in the local area. Some water companies – such as Welsh and Anglian – have organised recreational activities at their reservoirs which are supervised and require registration in advance, while entering the water is strictly prohibited at others.

Christine McGourty, Chief Executive of Water UK, said:

“We want everyone to stay safe this summer and not enter reservoirs unless it’s part of authorised activity. Sadly, we’ve seen a number of incidents and fatalities at our reservoirs in previous years and this year’s heatwave has tragically led to incidents in other bodies of water.

“We urge everyone to not take risks. Do enjoy the beautiful surroundings and walking trails around the country, but don’t swim on a whim.”

Outdoor swimming advice and more on the dangers of reservoirs can be found here.