Water chiefs ask people to play it safe this winter

Scottish Water is calling on people to play safe it around water this winter and make sure their children also look after themselves.

Residents should remain vigilant and should not take any risks around freezing cold rivers, reservoirs and lochs - while parents should keep their children safe.

Walkers should not go too close to the edge because they could slip and fall in. Dogs also need to be kept on a lead if they are being walked near reservoirs and other bodies of open water.

People are also being advised about the hidden dangers in reservoirs across Scotland and urged to be particularly careful if they visit one. Reservoirs are man-made features which, because of their purpose, have unique dangers such as dams, spillways (overflows) and hidden water intakes (underwater pipe work that takes water out of the reservoir) and other hazards common to natural bodies of water, for example reeds, strong currents, steep banks and deep cold water.

Also, as the majority of Scottish Water’s reservoirs are situated in remote locations, there is a lack of immediate assistance.

Peter Farrer, Scottish Water’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “Natural hazards can also lurk beneath the surface, where children and adults can get entangled in vegetation or stuck in mud. As the majority of reservoirs are remote, there is a lack of immediate assistance. Safety education is a priority. Please play safe this winter.”

Scottish Water’s safety message is being supported by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).

Elizabeth Lumsden, community safety manager for RoSPA Scotland, said: “Winter is a great time for adults and children to get out and about. Unfortunately it’s also a time when we hear about people dying while playing or walking on frozen water.

“Although frozen water can look tempting, there is simply no way of knowing whether it will hold your weight. We advise people to take care around the edges of lochs, reservoirs and rivers because snow can obscure them.”

For more safety advice go to www.scottishwater.co.uk.