CUMBRIAN swimmers have been urged to avoid the county's reservoirs this summer for safety reasons. 

United Utilities, which is responsible for 150 reservoirs across the North West, is urging residents to resist the temptation for a dip this summer and enjoy the reservoirs from the safety of dry land.

Alaister Downie, head of health, safety and wellbeing at United Utilities, said: “Not only is swimming in reservoirs strictly prohibited, but it’s also extremely dangerous.

"We continue to hear of the needless deaths of people accidently drowning in open water.

“The water may look refreshing on a hot summer’s day, but it is deceptively cold. Even in the summer the water will rarely get above 11°C – colder than the water that comes out of your cold tap.

"Even strong swimmers will struggle to keep their heads above water, your body can go into shock, your heart will be working over-time to pump blood to your internal organs, and you’ll lose control of your muscles.”

Group manager Angela Opie, Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service’s prevention lead, said: "We want people to enjoy spending time around water safely.

"Most people would be shocked to hear that in 2020, 254 lives were lost simply because people were spending time in and around water.

"This is because they were unaware of the risks and unprepared for the scenario of ending up in the water.

“In Cumbria, we carried out more than 200 water rescues between 2015 and 2020, which sadly included eight fatalities.

"By highlighting this issue and making sure simple safety messages reach our communities, we hope to reduce the number of these preventable deaths.

"Temperatures in Cumbria have started to rise slightly, but that does not mean all of our nearby waters are safe to be entered."