We look after and maintain 133 reservoirs across Yorkshire.
Our Reservoirs: Dangers & Byelaws
At Yorkshire Water, we want everyone to enjoy our land and reservoirs but to do this, we need people to act safely and responsibly. Here, you can read about reservoir dangers and the byelaws that are helping to keep you safe.
What are the dangers?
There are three main dangers - strong currents, the cold and time.
1. Strong Currents
These lurk beneath the surface, particularly if water is being taken out through massive pipes beneath the surface.
2. The cold and hyperventilation
When fatalities occur, it's the temperature of the water which is often the most significant factor. Reservoirs are deep and the water in them doesn't flow like in rivers or the sea so the temperature rarely rises much above 12 C.
Immersion is enough to take most people's breath away but what they probably don't realise is that this sensation is their body's natural defences kicking in - and they will only protect a swimmer for a matter of minutes, no matter how confident they are in the water.
One of the first signs of trouble is hyperventilation as the body tries to increase the flow of oxygen into the blood to help stave off the cold but, if the swimmer remains in the water, the body will begin to shut down to protect the vital organs. Muscles will go into cramp and suddenly it's no longer possible to swim. The victim will try to fight to stay on the surface but, if help doesn't arrive within seconds, they will be drawn unavoidably underwater, even though they may still be fully conscious and aware of what's happening.
Even if friends or relatives dial 999 within minutes of a swimmer disappearing, the reality is that the emergency services are more likely to be dealing with the recovery of a body rather than a rescue.
Firefighters, police and paramedics may be able to reach the scene within minutes, but if the victim is still somewhere in the water, they'll not be able to begin a search until specialist equipment arrives. Instead, they can only watch and wait, which may be hard for onlookers to understand but is often as traumatic for the emergency services as for family or friends of the missing swimmer.
It can take days to recover a body from a reservoir. In the meantime, friends and loved ones can do nothing more than return home and begin a tortuous wait for news.
Part of our blueprint for Yorkshire
Reservoir safety | cold water kills
Walk this way to shed the pounds
Over indulged this Christmas? Then why not enjoy some fresh air on a festive stroll at one of Yorkshire Water reservoirs and nature reserves.
In the winter time, reservoirs can often freeze up and a thin sheet of ice can cover parts or even the whole of the reservoir. Whilst they may seem safe to walk on, the ice is extremely thin and the water beneath is likely to be very deep and extremely cold.
But it's not only the cold you need to be worried about! Strong undercurrents caused by the fact that water is being continually drawn into large submerged pipes can make it almost impossible to escape.
If you do decide to take a stroll around our reservoirs, please follow our advice to make sure you stay safe:
• Don't be tempted to test the thickness of the ice; it's easy to slip from the bank and fall through.
• Parents should explain the dangers of playing on frozen reservoirs and lakes to their children.
• Adults should set a good example by staying off the ice themselves.
• Dog owners should ensure they keep their pets on a lead.
• Reservoirs are dangerous. If you fall in your life is in danger.
• Make sure you wear appropriate clothing and footwear.
Blue-green algae can produce toxins which can kill animals and pets. In humans, they can cause rashes and illnesses if swallowed.
Blue-green algal blooms and scums sometimes occur naturally on reservoirs and other inland waters. They can produce toxins which can kill wild animals, farm livestock and domestic pets. In humans, they can cause rashes after skin contact and severe illnesses if swallowed. Not all algal blooms are harmful but it’s best to avoid any contact with algae or the water close to it.
During a bloom the water may look green, blue-green or greenish-brown, there may be a musty, earthy or grassy odour and the water may become less clear. Scums can also form on the surface of the water, which may be blue-green, grey-green or greenish-brown and there may also be foaming along the shoreline.
Where blue-green algae is present, or there are warning signs in place, visitors are urged to avoid any contact with the water and to be especially careful not to let pets or children near the water. Do not let your dog drink the water or swim in it.
The standard of your treated drinking water is not affected by blue-green algae. Further information is available here.
We like our customers to enjoy our land - but it's important that people act responsibly too.
To help keep our reservoirs safe and enjoyable places to visit, as well as protecting your water supplies, we asked the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to confirm Byelaws that we originally advertised in April 2009.
With many of our beautiful leisure and recreation sites being situated in quite remote locations we appreciate that for many people, travelling to them in a motor vehicle is an absolute necessity. We therefore, where possible, look to offer suitable parking facilities that cater for different modes of transportation.
Please download a copy of our on-site parking pdf to see which sites have parking facilities including details of any restrictions imposed on the type of vehicles permitted to use them.
Please note that if you intend to arrive in a high sided vehicle - eg a motorhome, we cannot guarantee that the car park will be suitable for your use, even if there are no height restrictions in place.
It is your responsibility to ensure that the car park you are entering is suitable for your vehicle and that by using the facility you do not block other vehicles and ensure adequate turning space. We don't accept any liability for vehicles damaged whilst using our parking facilities.
On site parking.
Download a copy of our pdf below to see which sites you can park at.