A water company is ramping up security at its reservoirs following a spate of safety breaches.

South East Water caught more than 50 swimmers, several boats and large groups of people congregating at Ardingly Reservoir, West Sussex over the bank holiday weekend.

The company does not support swimming at any of its reservoirs and has repeatedly given out warnings regarding the dangers associated with swimming in reservoirs.

Chris Lunn, Head of Health, Safety and Quality, said: “The weather soared this weekend and as a result we saw large gatherings of people at our reservoirs taking part in activities like barbecues and swimming.

“Most dangerously of all, some people have been jumping in from elevated platforms and risking serious injury.

“Our message to the public is simple. You must maintain social distancing guidelines when using the reservoir for any activity.

 “Reservoirs may seem like a good place to swim or cool down but they can contain hidden dangers which are not always obvious from the bankside.”

Other dangers to swimmers can include:

  • An accumulation of silt on the bottom of the reservoir trapping feet
  • Machinery and pipework hidden beneath the surface which can start without warning and generate currents
  • Shelves or areas where the depth changes suddenly
  • Submerged branches, plants or other hazards that can trap or entangle a swimmer
  • Blue-green algae in some reservoirs which are naturally occurring but toxic organisms that can cause serious illness to humans and animals.


As a result of the most recent safety concerns, South East Water is stepping up security at its reservoirs to ensure everybody’s safety.

The company is also reviewing procedures at its public car parks in line with Government guidelines on social distancing.

Chris continued: “Our security guards will be on site and ensuring everybody is sticking to the rules and social distancing guidelines while using the reservoirs.

“If you’re aware of anybody breaching the rules, please let our security team on site know.”

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