Scottish Water is urging the people of Lanarkshire to "stay safe, behave responsibly and not take risks around watercourses such as reservoirs, rivers and lochs" during the summer months.

The latest figures from the National Water Safety Forum (NWSF) show that, in 2020, 254 people lost their lives to unintentional drowning in the UK, of which 39 were in Scotland.

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 as the COVID-19 restrictions ease, following any Scottish Government guidelines in place at the time, it’s absolutely vital they stay safe at all times and behave responsibly.

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“Safety is a serious issue at reservoirs as, 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.

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.

In the interests of public safety, Scottish Water does not encourage swimming in its reservoirs.

Alasdair Perry, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s deputy assistant chief officer, added: “We want people to have an enjoyable time during the warmer months, but safety is our top priority, and it is extremely important that we remind the public about staying safe near the water.

“What might start as a harmless dip can have tragic consequences if the proper advice isn’t followed. Although it might seem warm enough, open water can be very cold and cause cold water shock that can be deadly. It’s also often impossible to know what hazards lie below the surface of the water.

“Unfortunately, and particularly during the warmer months, our water rescue crews can often respond to emergency calls from people in difficulty.”