Reservoirs out of bounds as weather set to heat up

24 April 2020

  • Welsh Water has closed all its visitor centres and staffed reservoir sites to help combat coronavirus
  • Company warned people to stay away from reservoirs even when weather heats up
  • Swimming in reservoirs includes a host of dangers - including hidden equipment, very cold water, and lower chance of rescue

Welsh Water has warned people to stay away from its reservoirs as part of the effort to combat coronavirus as the country gears up for a warm weekend.

The not-for-profit water company has asked the public to stay away from their visitor centres and reservoir sites which have already been closed to the public for a number of weeks as part of the Covid-19 response.

But it has issued a fresh plea to would-be swimmers to join the rest of the community in staying away from reservoirs - warning that there are significant dangers of swimming even on the hottest days.

It said some people had tried to swim in its reservoir sites earlier this month when the temperatures rose, but said they were putting their lives at risk in doing so.

The dangers of swimming in reservoirs include:

  • Automatic equipment located under the surface of the water, which can sometimes operate without obvious warning
  • Very cold and deep water that can cause even strong swimmers to find themselves in difficulty
  • Most reservoirs are in remote locations, with little or no mobile phone reception, so the chance of rescue is greatly reduced

Welsh Water runs its One Last Breath campaign each year, with a video starkly depicting two teenagers who drown after going into the water at a reservoir on a hot summer’s day and the impact that has on their friends and family who are left behind.

Welsh Water Chief Executive, Peter Perry, said: “Reservoirs might seem like a great place to cool off, but they are full of hidden dangers with freezing temperatures, hidden machinery and strong currents which can pull even the strongest swimmers under the water.

“At this time when the country is pulling together to combat the spread of Covid-19 by staying home and staying safe, we really want to emphasise that swimming in our reservoirs are out of bounds and not an option for cooling off as the temperatures rise.

“We know the weather is particularly warm at the moment and people are tempted to go for a swim – but I cannot emphasise enough that people are not only putting their own lives at risk, but also the lives of people who may try and help if they get into difficulty in a reservoir.”