WATER company Welsh Water is warning against the new craze of 'wet nominate' - telling people it is dangerous to jump into or swim in reservoirs.
‘Wet nominate’ sees people nominating others to get deliberately wet and posting the footage on the internet. It started with a video of people pouring a bucket of cold water over their head before it was placed on the internet.
Already this year, there have been two fatalities at reservoirs in England which are tragic reminders of just how dangerous reservoirs can be. Last year, two people tragically died over the same weekend in July 2013 after swimming at reservoirs in the Brecon Beacons (Pontsticill and Cantref).
Welsh Water owns and maintains more than 80 reservoirs across Wales and while it encourages people to come and enjoy the areas surrounding them, swimming in them can prove fatal due to the hidden dangers that lurk beneath the surface of the water.
There have already been instances of people swimming in some reservoirs in South Wales in the last few weeks including Llwyn Onn (Brecon Beacons) and Bwllfa Dare (Aberdare).
Welsh Water’s Chief Operating Officer, Pete Perry said: “With the latest internet craze ‘wet nominate’ circulating on social media, we are worried that some people may be attracted by the idea of going for a swim or jumping into a reservoir. I cannot emphasise enough that people who do this are not only putting their own lives at risk but also the lives of people who may try and help if they get into difficulty.
‘”People shouldn’t just take our word for it. The recent deaths at reservoirs in England are a stark reminder that while reservoirs might seem safe, they are full of hidden dangers with freezing cold water and strong currents.
“We ask customers to remember that reservoirs are working sites that are an important part of the water cycle. This is why we display signage at these sites and campaigns asking customers not to swim at any time.”
The dangers of swimming in reservoirs include:
• Automatic equipment located under the surface of the water, which can sometimes operate without obvious warning
• Very cold and deep water that can cause even strong swimmers to find themselves in difficulty
• Most reservoirs are in remote locations, with little or no mobile phone reception, so the chance of rescue is greatly reduced
Lauren Jennings, 22 from Merthyr Tydfil, lost one of her best friends while swimming in a reservoir in 2006. She said she didn’t realise how important the messages were until it was too late.
“There were signs everywhere but we ignored them. As a 15 year old, you just think you are invincible and that it wouldn’t happen to me or any of us.
“It could have been any one of us, or more than one of us. I want to do all I can to make sure people realise that no matter how beautiful the reservoirs look, the reality is they are very dangerous.”