“People are ignoring danger signs and putting their lives at real risk by playing right next to reservoirs or actually entering the water.”
That’s according to Yorkshire Water, which is warning people across Nidderdale to stay out of local reservoirs, such as Fewston and Swinsty, after responding to several incidents last weekend involving people in its waters.
Thankfully nobody was injured, but the company is warning that if people continue to ignore the danger signs and fences, it is potentially only a matter of time until someone fails to make it out alive.
The warm weather of the last seven days has also led to other issues at the company’s reservoir sites, including incidents where people have illegally set up camp, lit fires which are strictly prohibited and indulged in petty vandalism.
Matt Thompson, from Yorkshire Water, said: “It’s a very stark message, but if you enter our reservoirs, for whatever reason, you may not come out alive.
“They may seem like a good place to take a swim or cool down but, in fact, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
“When fatalities occur - and they do across the UK each year - it’s often the temperature which is the most significant factor. Reservoirs are deep and the water doesn’t flow like in rivers or the sea, so the temperature rarely rises much above 12C.
“Strong currents also lurk beneath the surface of often calm-looking waters as we draw water into our supply network.
“It really doesn’t matter how well you can swim, as it’s the cold which paralyses your muscles, meaning the victim is unable to stay afloat and if help doesn’t arrive within seconds, they will drown.”
“So, please don’t put yourself in danger, please stay out of our reservoirs.”
Even if the alarm is raised quickly, it can be minutes before emergency services arrive at the scene, he added, and even then, they may not be able to enter the water until specialist equipment arrives.
Yorkshire Water has worked with the Hambleton Community Safety Partnership to develop a hard-hitting DVD which re-enacts a drowning, and the response by police, fire and ambulance services.
For more about the Dying To Be Cool campaign, go to www.yorkshirewater.com/safety.