SCOTTISH Water is urging people to stay safe, behave responsibly and not take risks around watercourses such as reservoirs, rivers and lochs this summer.

The latest figures from the National Water Safety Forum (NWSF) show that, in 2021, a total of 277 people lost their lives to accidental drowning in the UK, including 58 in Scotland.

The figures, which were up from 254 and 39 in the UK and Scotland respectively in 2020, include the deaths of six people who drowned in Scottish watercourses such as Loch Lomond in four separate incidents in one weekend during warm weather last July.

Peter Farrer, Scottish Water’s chief operating officer, said: “While people should enjoy any good weather we have and take pleasure around the country’s beautiful lochs, reservoirs and rivers, it’s absolutely vital they stay safe at all times and behave responsibly.

“As the tragic deaths in Scotland last year showed, safety is a serious issue in all bodies of water, including lochs, reservoirs and rivers.

“At reservoirs, while the water may look harmless, there are many hidden dangers. We need to ensure everyone is aware of these hazards. We are reminding parents to keep their children safe and asking adults to act responsibly around reservoirs and other watercourses.”

Deep, cold water is a particular danger at reservoirs, which are working parts of Scottish Water’s infrastructure. Dams, steep banks, spillways (overflows) and underwater pipework can also present real hazards. Many of the publicly-owned utility’s reservoirs are situated in remote locations, meaning there is a lack of immediate assistance and mobile phone reception can be poor. Scottish Water does not encourage swimming in its reservoirs.

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