Farnley Reservoir campaigner issues swimming warning as heatwave continues

farnley reservoir no swimming
Dangers: Farnley Reservoir. Photo: Daniel Riley

A water safety campaigner has issued a stark warning over the danger of swimming in Farnley reservoir.

Daniel Riley has been leading calls for more signs and safety precautions around the edge of the reservoir over the past few years – and today revealed he’d received a number of messages asking about the reservoir’s safety.

Mr Riley said:

“During this recent heatwave I’ve received around 20 messages asking me if Farnley Reservoir is safe to swim in. The simple answer is ‘no’.

“It’s not your typical reservoir, it serves as a flood defence and a wastewater asset. The same dangers remain.”

Farnley Reservoir is maintained by Yorkshire Water, which today also urged people not to enter the water at any of its reservoirs.

The recent warm weather saw 762 people recorded swimming or intending to swim at just 14 of the water company’ 130 reservoirs in a seven-day period.

The incidents were recorded between 11 and 18 July at a handful of reservoirs, despite continued warnings from Yorkshire Water and emergency services across the region about the dangers of open water.

Gaynor Craigie, head of land and property at Yorkshire Water, said:

“The last week has tragically seen four people lose their lives in open water in our region, following on from a further four fatalities earlier in the year.

“Our sites have seen a dramatic increase in people swimming, particularly during the recent warm weather, with our teams speaking to almost 800 people intending to swim at just a handful of our sites, including young unaccompanied children. We know the true number of people entering reservoirs across the region will be much greater and we would urge people not to take risks by getting into the water for any reason.

“There are several risks associated with open water at reservoirs, which are often underestimated, and pose a potential risk to life. These include cold water shock, unseen objects, the hazards of operational machinery and the underwater currents they cause. We would urge people not to underestimate these dangers and to speak to their children about the risks of entering open water.”

Yorkshire Water is holding discussions with a range of organisations responsible for watercourses, as well as the emergency services and wild swimming groups, to work together to warn of the dangers of open water and keep people safe.

The water company also hosted events with schools in Yorkshire to raise awareness of the dangers of entering open water.


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