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United Utilities issues warning ahead of summer holidays

United Utilities has issued a warning to visitors to its reservoir sites ahead of the summer holidays about the dangers of swimming in open water and wildfires. 

The region's water company is expecting an increase in visitors to its sites, with most schools breaking up this week and the warm weather set to continue.

Following recent tragic incidents at open water sites in Yorkshire and Cumbria, as well as a 19-year-old man who sadly lost his life in Salford Quays, United Utilities is encouraging visitors to enjoy the scenery but avoid the temptation to go for a dip as swimming in its reservoirs is prohibited. 

The company is reminding people that reservoirs can be extremely dangerous with deep water and steep sides making it difficult to get out. There are also strong currents caused by the machinery under the water and the reservoirs are also very cold which can cause shock. 

With lots of reservoirs being in remote locations, it can also be difficult for emergency services to help anyone in trouble. 

United Utilities say there is clear signage at all of its reservoirs, explaining the dangers of swimming and the company has installed throwlines at 20 locations around eight reservoirs across Greater Manchester and Lancashire - each dedicated to the memory of someone who lost their life.

The water company is also asking visitors to respect the environment when they visit its estates. 

As well as ensuring any litter is taken home or placed in bins, visitors are reminded not use disposable BBQs or light fires and to be very careful with cigarette ends. 

Disposable BBQs and fires are a real threat to moorlands around the estates. In recent years, there have been devastating fires at places like Saddleworth Moor. 

Tinderbox-dry grass and the moorland environment, sudden winds and peaty soils mean fires start with a single spark and can be out of control in seconds, United Utilities warn. 

Speaking ahead of the summer holidays, Estates and Land Manager for United Utilities, Ross Evans, said: “We know with the holidays upon us that many people will be looking for days out across the region.  If people are visiting our estates we want to ensure they have a nice time and leave safely. 

“That’s why we’re reminding people about the particular dangers the hot weather can bring. We know that it can be tempting to cool down in this heat by taking a dip, but cold water shock can kill even strong swimmers in just 60 seconds. So don’t risk it. 

“We also don’t allow fires or BBQs as they can quickly start a wildfire.  As well as the damage they can cause to the environment, people don’t realise they’re putting themselves at risk as well.  Come and enjoy the countryside but please follow these simple rules and leave it as you would want to find it.”

More information on reservoir safety can be found at https://www.unitedutilities.com/about-us/recreation-sites/reservoir-safety/

You can watch a video showing the dangers of moorland fires at the top of the page. 

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