Ardingly Reservoir steps up security: warning issued after people seen swimming in water

Security patrols are being stepped up at Ardingly Reservoir to stop people from swimming at the site, South East Water has said.

South East Water, Wakehurst Place and West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service have reported that a ‘significant number’ of warm weather revellers have been entering the water at the Mid Sussex site.

On July 8, Mid Sussex Police also tweeted: “We have received reports of groups of youths jumping from what is known as Platts Bridge into the reservoir at Ardingly, Haywards Heath.

“Jumping off bridges and swimming in reservoirs is strictly prohibited.”

South East Water said revellers had been seen swimming at Ardingly Reservoir

South East Water said it does not support swimming at any of its reservoirs and has repeatedly issued warnings about the dangers of this.

Chris Lunn, head of health, safety and quality, said: “We’re so privileged to have such wonderful open spaces for the public to enjoy during these periods of hot weather but we must prioritise every visitor’s safety.

“Over the weekend, we saw large gatherings of people at our reservoirs taking part in activities like barbecues and swimming.

“The anti-social activity we are seeing risks fires, damage to local habitats and intimidates other visitors trying to enjoy our wonderful reservoirs.”

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Chris said reservoirs contain hidden dangers.

He said: “Our advice is never to swim at any reservoir unless it is a part of an organised event where the risks are suitably low and first aiders are in place.”

Other dangers to swimmers include:

An accumulation of silt on the bottom of the reservoir, which can trap people's feet.

Machinery and pipework under the surface that can start without warning and cause currents.

Shelves or areas where the depth changes suddenly.

Submerged branches, plants or other hazards that can trap a swimmer.

Blue-green algae in some reservoirs, which are toxic organisms and can make people ill.

South East Water said that the remote nature of the Ardingly site can also make it hard for swimmers to get help.

Chris said: “Our security team will be walking around the reservoirs to ensure everyone is enjoying their day safely.

“Please remember our staff are there to keep you safe and any abuse towards them will not be tolerated.

“If you spot any antisocial or dangerous behaviour taking place, please alert our team immediately.”