‘Dramatic increase’ in swimming in reservoirs with 8,000 reports despite three South Yorkshire drowning tragedies

Nearly 8,000 swimming incidents were reported in just 18 Yorkshire Water reservoirs during the summer holidays.

Tuesday, 12th October 2021, 12:25 pm

The reports included incidents at the Sheffield hot spot sites at Agden, Broomhead, Dale Dike, Damflask, Redmires, and Rivelin; and the Barnsley sites of Roydmoor, Scout Dyke and Windcar, in a summer that saw three deaths in water in or near the city.

Yorkshire Water recorded 7,865 incidents of people swimming or intending to swim at the 18 reservoirs, all known hotspots, over the school summer holiday period, despite warnings not to enter open water at its sites.

In Sheffield, one man drowned at Crookes Valley Park this year, and two drowned at Ulley Country Park. Both are former reservoirs.

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There were nearly 8,000 reports of people swimming in Yorkshire Water's reservoirs during the summer

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Yorkshire Water said it employed additional resources at the 18 reservoirs to stop swimming during warm weather

Many of the incidents, recorded between July 16 and September 12, involved unaccompanied children.

The water company is continuing to urge people not to enter the water at its sites due to the often unseen and underestimated dangers, such as cold water shock, underwater machinery and unseen currents, all of which can pose significant risks to people entering the water.

Gaynor Craigie, head of land and property at Yorkshire Water, said: “Sadly, our region saw a number of tragic water-related deaths over the summer, and we experienced a dramatic increase in people swimming at our sites, despite warnings not to enter the water.

“Our teams recorded almost 8,000 incidents over the summer holidays at just 18 of our 130 reservoirs. We know the true number of people entering the water will be much greater and we would urge people not to take any risks by getting into the water for any reason. The risks at reservoirs are often underestimated and it is important to raise awareness of these dangers.”

In a bid to educate children of the dangers posed by open water, Yorkshire Water has expanded its water safety education programme for the new school year.

The virtual assemblies and events are available to schools across the region and are aligned to Swim England’s water safety messaging.

The assemblies are available for early years, key stages 1 and 2 children, with plans in place to expand the events to children at key stage 3 and 4 later in the academic year.

Local journalism holds the powerful to account and gives people a voice. Please take out a digital subscription or buy a paper. Thank you. Nancy Fielder, editor