SWIMMERS who needlessly endangered their lives by entering a ‘dangerous’ body of water to cool off have been told to think twice about the consequences - after the firm responsible for the town’s reservoirs had to rush to a Barnsley reservoir.
Yorkshire Water had to respond to reports of swimmers entering Winscar - a reservoir in Dunford Bridge - during last weekend’s heatwave and issued a warning.
Despite reservoirs looking inviting when the weather is warm, cold water shock can be a killer as well as hidden dangers such as under-the-surface machinery.
David Longbottom, from Yorkshire Water, said: “We’ve had a number of reports of people swimming in our reservoirs over the last few days and I’d like to remind people not to take risks by getting into the water.
“You shouldn’t underestimate the risk our reservoirs can pose to your life, and sadly, over the years people have died after entering open water.
“The water in the reservoirs might look inviting on a warm day, but entering it can cause cold water shock and reservoirs are a part of the clean water network delivering water to homes, which means there is equipment under the water that also poses a risk to people entering it.
“We want you to remain safe and enjoy walking around our reservoirs, but please refrain from entering the water.”
Six drowning deaths have occurred at local reservoirs in the last four summers - which include Ingbirchworth, Langsett, Scout Dike and Winscar.
According to a Yorkshire Water report, 87 per cent of incidents involved males and those who have been spotted getting into the water have been urged to not underestimate the risks involved.
It added: “We do not believe that open-water swimming in our reservoirs is a safe activity.
“Our concerns include the very low temperature of the water at all points of the year, the machinery and currents associated with a functioning reservoir, and the possibility of blue-green algae which can cause rashes after skin contact and severe illnesses if swallowed.
“Our reservoirs are often in remote locations and it is likely that emergency services will not be able to respond quickly to those in trouble.
“We know the risks associated with swimming in reservoirs and may challenge those who choose to do so.
“Where applicable, this includes the option of beginning an enforcement process outlined within our byelaws.
“Even if an individual is not challenged, if we become aware of an incident then the police will be contacted.”