Reservoirs and other water bodies can often look idyllic, a perfect place to spend a beautiful day; this can be particularly so as we all look to spend more time outdoors and embrace the staycation over the summer. But that calm exterior can carry real danger that everyone should be aware of.
In order to help make this summer safe for everyone, NI Water would like to put out a strong message to the community, especially children and young people, to take care around reservoirs and never be tempted to swim in them.
Reservoirs are often great places for a walk or cycle but even an innocent paddle in the water can quickly turn into an emergency!
Cathy Uprichard, Head of Safety, Health and Environment at NI Water, explains, there is a real danger lying beneath the surface: “Understandably, a reservoir can look like the perfect place to cool down on a warm day, but while it may look safe, it can be very dangerous. You may swim well in a warm indoor pool, but that does not mean that you will be able to swim in extremely cold water.
“The dangers include:
- Very cold temperatures; the water can be bitterly cold even in summer months.
- There can be strong underwater currents, which can trouble even the most confident of swimmers.
- Reservoirs are often very deep, much deeper than you expect.
- There may be hidden debris or underwater hazards which can cause injury, including weeds and plants, which can entangle you under the water.
- It can be very difficult to get out of the water (steep slimy banks).
- There are no lifeguards on duty.
“We want everyone to have a fantastic summer, but always resist the temptation to cool off in a reservoir or a quarry; a quick dip really could mean a quick death!’’