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NI Water ‘may be left with no choice’ but to close some reservoir sites after recent scrambler damage

Damage caused to grassland around reservoirs by scramblers.

Damage caused to grassland around reservoirs by scramblers.

NI Water is issuing a strong reminder to the public that anti-social behaviour, including the use of quad bikes, cannot be tolerated at its reservoirs and says it may have to close some of its sites over the St Patrick’s bank holiday weekend.

This is due to recent scrambler damage compromising the health and safety of the dams.


The call comes after scrambler damage was reported at Woodburn, Seagahan and Stoneyford reservoirs. Gary Presho, NI Water Area Manager explains:

“There always seems to be a particular increase in scrambler damage at our reservoir sites during holiday periods, resulting in serious health and safety issues. With the St Patrick’s bank holiday coming up this weekend, we would like to remind the public that NI Water strictly prohibits the use of scramblers or quad bikes across our sites.

“The walking trails through the forests and around the dams are used by families on a regular basis and with motorbikes also using these trails it is an accident waiting to happen. Not only are they endangering public safety, they are also causing damage to the reservoir embankments and paths, making some of the paths inaccessible. 

“As our photographs show, the grassland around the reservoirs has been badly damaged and with heavy rain we could well start to see erosion which could impact the structural integrity of the dam.

"It is not possible to repair the grass until ground conditions improve. The reservoir safety team are therefore carefully monitoring for early signs of erosion, but any further damage will only accelerate the issue. This may well result in the need to drain the reservoirs concerned until repairs are completed.”


Fly-tipping has also been a problem.

Fly-tipping has also been a problem.

Gary explained NI Water is now considering closing some of its reservoir sites in light of recent scrambler damage.


He said:

“What may seem like harmless fun is in fact an extremely dangerous activity. NI Water is now taking into consideration the recent extensive damage caused at the Woodburn, Seagahan and Stoneyford reservoirs and may need to consider closing these sites in the interest of public safety.


“NI Water would appeal to community leaders and political representatives to support us in tackling any further anti-social behaviour across all NI Water sites. The whole community needs to help us put a stop to this behaviour before this impacts on vital water services, which are essential for the local community.

“NI Water depends on the common sense and goodwill of those using the site to treat it with respect. It is a shame that the selfish acts of a few are impacting on the enjoyment of the many who visit the reservoirs. This activity, plus recent incidents of vandalism at the site, has been reported to the PSNI and we are actively working with them for a permanent resolution.

“We understand people want to make the most of this scenic area, particularly over holiday periods, but we would ask everyone to respect the area. Report any inappropriate behaviour or vandalism to the PSNI on 101, Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or Waterline 03457 440088.”


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