Kids are ‘dicing with death’ at water’s edge

Danger: children play by the water at Digley reservoir
Danger: children play by the water at Digley reservoir

MARCH’s mini-heatwave may be over but a warning is going out to sun-seekers not to cool off in Calderdale’s reservoirs when temperatures rise again.

Yorkshire Water is worried about children in particular ignoring danger signs and putting their lives at risk by playing next to reservoirs or entering the water.

The company, which owns Mixenden, Ogden and Warley Moor reservoirs in Halifax, has put out the warning after being sent a photo of two children dicing with death at the water’s edge at Digley, Holmfirth.

Yorkshire Water said there had also been four incidents in which wardens had stopped people entering reservoirs since the warm weather began last month.

Yorkshire Water’s Geoff Lomas said: “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 currents 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.

“If help doesn’t arrive within seconds, they will drown.

“Even if the alarm is raised quickly, it takes time for emergency services to arrive at the scene, and they may not be able to enter the water until specialist equipment arrives.”

Yorkshire Water has worked with emergency services to produce a DVD highlighting the danger as part of its Dying to be Cool awareness-raising campaign.

It is aimed at teenagers and young adults and was filmed with the support of two families who lost loved ones to drowning.

• For more information, visit www.yorkshirewater.com/walks-and-leisure/reservoir-safety.aspx