Yorkshire Water warns of swimming danger in Farnley Reservoir

A campaign has been launched to turn around the fortunes of Farnley reservoir. Photo: Daniel Riley

Yorkshire Water has issued a stark warning to those who might be tempted by swimming in Farnley reservoir during the summer.

With temperatures recently touching 30C, the reservoir might seem tempting, but taking a swim could lead to tragedy.

Daniel Riley, who has been leading a local campaign to make Farnley Reservoir safer, said a number of children have been seen entering the water over the summer holidays. He said on Twitter:

“Children entering this reservoir is now becoming a regular occurrence. It’s clear more needs to be done to make sure the perimeter is fully secure. One person tweeted me saying [that] in [the] last few days [they have] needed to get police and fire out as kids have been on.”

Emily Brady from Yorkshire Water said:

“Most people think reservoirs are safe places to swim, but they pose a huge risk which could lead to loss of life. They are often colder than rivers and this can result in cold water shock that can lead to hyperventilation, increased blood pressure, breathing difficulties and heart attacks plus water temperatures remain just as cold in summer as in winter.”

West Yorkshire Fire Service, Kirklees District Commander Toby May, said:

“In the past two years, firefighters have attended over 70 water rescue incidents in various types of waterways across West Yorkshire.

“We realise the appeal of taking a dip during the hot summer months, but the cool water of a reservoir can be dangerously deceiving and you can very easily get into difficulty as cold water shock takes hold.

“Please take care around open water – particularly as school summer holidays start, it is vital that young people take our safety messages on board when they are out and about.”


  1. Good to see the fire service focussing on education needed to stay safe rather than banning reservoir swimming altogether, when reservoir swimming is clearly safer than swimming in rivers or the sea or many other activities. I wish Yorkshire Water could do the same. They could start by making their signage truthful and safety focussed: the claim that temperatures never go above 12 degrees is laughable. Proper descriptions of cold water shock and cold incapacitation and how to avoid both would be so much more helpful.


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