Don’t risk swimming in reservoirs, United Utilities warn

As the North West expects some of the hottest recorded April temperatures this week, people are being warned to avoid swimming in reservoirs.

The warning comes from United Utilities in a bid to save lives, with the company still noticing people taking risks and jumping into potentially dangerous reservoirs, despite government advice to stay home and save lives.

“Paula Steer is United Utilities’ director responsible for health and safety and estate management said: “For many the nice weather is helping them get through this current difficult time, which we all find ourselves in.

“Car parks at our reservoir and recreational sites are currently closed due to Covid-19. However, much of our land has open access and some people are still taking a deadly plunge into our reservoirs. Regardless of how warm the weather is, our advice is clear, please don’t be tempted to head to your local reservoir to cool off, it’s just not worth the risk.

“Deaths in reservoirs is a very real problem and sadly, despite the best efforts from us and the emergency services to raise awareness of the dangers, we continue to hear of the needless deaths of people, many very young accidently drowning in open water.”

Most reservoirs are often in isolated places and with even less people about due to the current request for people to stay at home, there may be no one around to help.

“We know the weather is particularly warm at the moment and people are tempted to go for a swim – but I cannot emphasise enough, reservoirs don’t care how strong a swimmer you think you are, the fact remains that reservoirs are particularly unsuited to swimming. These are working sites, with submerged machinery, unpredictable currents and of course, freezing water”, added Paula.

United Utilities has numerous ‘no swimming’ signs around its reservoirs and has been using innovative thinking to continually improve safety at its  reservoirs.  The company has worked with Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, and Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, to identify what can be done to help reduce the number of drowning incidents in reservoirs throughout the North West.

This has included the installation of throwlines around a number of reservoir locations and a hard hitting water safety play inspired by the tragic deaths of two North West teenagers, which is helping to educate schoolchildren about the dangers of swimming in reservoirs.

For more information on reservoir safety, visit