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'Shame Cheddar Reservoir swimming area was dropped by Bristol Water'

By IanMat  |  Posted: December 14, 2013

Letter writer Mark Weller of Cheddar asked why Bristol Water wasn't putting a swimming area into Cheddar Reservoir Two any more?

Letter writer Mark Weller of Cheddar asked why Bristol Water wasn't putting a swimming area into Cheddar Reservoir Two any more?

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I AM a resident of Cheddar and have just received the latest leaflet detailing the finalised plans for reservoir two.

Although I am impressed overall and could not oppose such a well-designed, wildlife-centred new natural habitat on our doorstep, I am disappointed that the original plan for a safe designated swimming area has apparently been dropped.

As a parent I know it is very difficult to dissuade determined children from swimming in the current reservoir on hot summer days despite the publicised risks.

Surely it would be pragmatic and common sense to manage and reduce the risks by encouraging swimming in a clearly designated safe area?

I might even enjoy the odd swim there myself as I am sure many other local adults and visitors and their families would.

I would very much welcome a positive rethink by Bristol Water on this particular issue and I know I am not alone.

Mark Weller

Cheddar

Bristol Water’s response:

A safe, designated swimming area was proposed during the first stage of consultation. Many who mentioned this in their feedback were in favour, others were not.

We dropped the idea because, having investigated the concept carefully, it was clear to us, as the reservoir owners and operators, that it might actually pose more problems than the benefits it might give.

Out of hours, we would not be able to supervise the area and, given human nature, even when it was supervised, we felt others would simply swim where they wished, unsupervised. The open nature of the reservoir surrounds heightened our concern.

This summer alone saw seven drownings in UK reservoirs, lakes and rivers.

On balance, and having taken advice from independent safety experts, we felt the risk of allowing reservoir swimming was too much to take.

We may well revisit this issue in the future, but for now swimming will remain banned at all our reservoirs.

Sorry to disappoint you.

Jeremy Williams

Bristol Water

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