Water safety advice issued for summer

Jamie from Newtownabbey warning of the dangers of NI Water sites.
Jamie from Newtownabbey warning of the dangers of NI Water sites.

The summer holidays are here and many children and young people will be spending plenty of time outdoors.

NI Water wishes to remind everyone, particularly parents and guardians, to be alert to the dangers that are around us. NI Water’s construction sites, treatment works and reservoirs are scattered throughout Northern Ireland and are fully operational working sites – not playgrounds or swimming pools.

Michael Bergin, NI Water’s Health and Safety Manager said: “A reservoir can look like the perfect place to cool down on a warm day, but while it may look safe, it can be extremely dangerous. You may swim well in a warm indoor pool, but that does not mean that you will be able to swim in extremely cold water. Even on the warmest of summer days, reservoir water is still bitterly cold and often much deeper than you might expect.

“Many of our reservoir sites are in remote areas, far away from towns and perhaps difficult to get to, or maybe with poor mobile phone reception. By the time help arrives, it could all be too late.

“I am urging the local community to be vigilant as NI Water is experiencing a growing problem of people vandalising our sites or damaging fencing around sites to gain access. Vandalised gates and fences can create a major danger for young children or animals who may wander into these sites.

“Sites are not playgrounds and they can be extremely dangerous for unauthorised personnel without the correct training or equipment. Vandalism can also lead to the delay of important infrastructure projects intended to benefit the entire community, as well as the outlay of money which would be much better spent elsewhere.”