Pupils warned about dangers of reservoirs

Graeme Smyth of NI Water, who delivered the safety presentation, with pupils of St. Patrick's College, Banbridge.
Graeme Smyth of NI Water, who delivered the safety presentation, with pupils of St. Patrick's College, Banbridge.

NI Water has put out a strong message to pupils of St. Patrick’s College in Banbridge to stay away from reservoirs and other bodies of water, including disused quarries, that are not open for public access.

As the summer holidays beckon, the temptation is there for groups of children or young people to take a dip or bring boats and water equipment onto the water.

However, as Michael Bergin, Health and Safety Manager at NI Water, explains, there is a very real danger lying beneath the water.

He said: “Understandably, a reservoir or quarry can look like the perfect place to cool down and have some fun with friends. However, below the calm surface lie some very real hidden dangers. Hidden strong undercurrents can drag you under or sweep even the strongest swimmer away from the edge.

“Weeds and plants can entangle you under the water and prevent you from resurfacing. Reservoir water is very deep and dangerously cold – particularly if you have consumed alcohol.

“Reservoirs and other water bodies can be in isolated places, therefore it is likely to be too late for help to arrive if you are in trouble.”

NI Water, working in close co-operation with colleagues in Quarry Products Association NI, is offering two iPads to the group which best showcases their creative talents to encourage water safety this summer.

This can be by recording a video, designing a poster, staging a drama piece, or by any other creative means.

Entry is open to all youth and community groups across Northern Ireland, and we encourage everyone to get their creative juices flowing.

Entries close on Friday August 7 at 5pm.