Would you risk your life for a quick dip?

Not a swimming pool

It’s a hot, sticky summer’s day. Even the shade isn’t cool enough and you start to feel a little faint, a bit dizzy – what you wouldn’t give just to cool off a bit.

It feels like a long day but you’ve just been relaxing, so why does it feel so tiring? Suddenly your pace fastens because you stumble upon a haven of calm, cool crystal blue water.

Surely a quick dip wouldn’t hurt?

There’s no one around, just a few swans bathing so delicately, enjoying the water. It looks so inviting. Bold, red signage is all around, warning not to swim. But what could be so dangerous?  All those warnings are just scaremongering, and you’ve heard a load of people talk about swimming in the lakes. They were fine, so nothing will happen.

Besides – you’re only going in for a quick dip. You’re just going to cool off.

Yet under that calm, tranquil surface of the water lies the powerful, fast moving machinery needed to pump thousands of gallons of water to the treatment works. It’s pitch black and it’s freezing cold.

The industrial sized fans create unnatural tides that can rip you from the surface and suck you underneath, into the freezing depths below.

Cold water shock kicks in, your arms and legs seize up, like they’re no longer yours. They’re not used to this temperature and it’s taken a while for it your body to react – you’re already out of your depth and away from land. You start to think of how deep the water is, and you panic. Now you can feel your heart racing, there’s a pain in your chest and you realise you’re suffocating. It’s eight times deeper than you can stand in.  You can feel plants tangling against your legs that have grown from the 15 metre deep reservoir. But there’s no lifeguard. You’ve only been in the water for a few short moments.

Reservoirs are not swimming pools.

They are very big, extremely deep machines that are full of pumps and fans that don’t see the difference between you and the water they suck to the treatment works.

Please stay safe. Stay out of the water.

Our lakes are functional reservoirs and not swimming pools. Inland swimming is the biggest cause of accidental drowning. It’s not about how well you can swim, they are not designed for swimming in.