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Don’t dice with death at our Harrogate reservoirs says Yorkshire Water

Children are ignoring danger signs and putting their lives at real risk by playing either right next to reservoirs or in worst case scenarios, actually entering the water.

Yorkshire Water has put out a warning to all of its customers not to play next to or ever enter any of its Harrogate reservoirs which include Fewston, Swinsty and Grimwith after receiving a photo of two children dicing with death at one of its sites.

The picture, taken earlier this week by a concerned woman who was visiting the company’s Digley reservoir, a renowned Holmfirth beauty spot, captured the antics of two children as they play right next to the reservoir edge, after having climbed under a fence and ignored a danger sign.

It follows a number of incidents where site wardens have actually successfully intervened to stop people from entering reservoir waters and potentially putting their lives at risk.


Digley danger


However, with the warm weather set to continue and school holiday’s beginning next week, the company is warning anybody tempted to cool off in one of its reservoirs not to ever enter its waters and highlighting how those that choose to ignore such warnings are risking their lives.

Yorkshire Water’s Geoff Lomas comments:

We’re extremely concerned by the photos and reports we’ve received of late which very clearly show that people – particularly children – are still putting their lives at risk by playing right next to or actually entering reservoir waters.

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 current 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.

Even if the alarm is raised quickly, it can be minutes before emergency services arrive at the scene, 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. More details about the Dying To Be Cool campaign are available on the company’s website at


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