Yorkshire Water backs NFCC Be Water Aware campaign

A Yorkshire Water reservoir
Community and people General news Land and recreation


Yorkshire Water is backing this year's Be Water Aware campaign by the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC), by urging people not to enter its reservoirs.


Running from 22–28 April, the campaign aims to raise awareness about the risk of accidental drowning and encourage considerate behaviour around bodies of water.


The latest figures indicate there were 226 accidental drowning deaths in 2022 across the UK with six taking place in Yorkshire (three in West Yorkshire, two in South Yorkshire, and one in North Yorkshire). 60% of all accidental drownings in the UK occurred inland, at reservoirs, lakes and rivers.


The NFCC campaign outlines that many people underestimate the risk of entering the water: Yorkshire Water see people entering its 130 reservoirs daily, despite warnings about the dangers reservoirs can pose.


With the effects of cold-water shock and unseen hazards like operating machinery and hidden undercurrents, even the strongest swimmers can get into difficulties.


Peter Jacques, director of health and safety at Yorkshire Water, said: “With the summer approaching, we’re expecting to see an increase in numbers of people wanting to swim. We know how dangerous it can be to enter open bodies of water, like our reservoirs, and would urge everyone to take note of warnings at our sites and not to enter the water.”


Out of all 2022 accidental drownings, 40% of people had no intention of ever entering the water – slips, trips and falls were commonly the cause of these incidents.


Peter added: “Water safety goes beyond choosing not to swim or paddle to cool off – it's also about remaining vigilant around the water, particularly if you are looking after children. We are once again backing the NFCC campaign to raise awareness of water safety behaviours and measures.


“If people see others in difficulty in the water, they should contact the emergency services on 999 as they are trained to deal with such events.”


Yorkshire Water continues to offer free water safety education sessions for children across Yorkshire. Virtual lessons are available for children at Key Stages 1-4, with two live events scheduled in May.


Aligned to Swim England’s water safety advice, the events inform children how to keep themselves and their friends safe near open water and explain the hidden dangers in reservoirs, rivers, canals and seas.


Yorkshire Water’s education team also explain ‘Float to Live’ lifesaving technique and what to do in an emergency.


Water safety resources can be found on the Yorkshire Water website and education events can be booked via Yorkshire Water’s education pages