As winter weather and frigid temperatures set in throughout south-central Connecticut, the Regional Water Authority (RWA) warns residents that it is never safe to walk, run, skate, sled, ski, or otherwise travel over ice-covered reservoirs. Posted warning signs on watershed land are meant to be strictly observed.
"Frozen bodies of water can be deadly as the top layer of ice can easily give way trapping you under the freezing water. Your body can go into shock from the rapid temperature changes leaving you disoriented and unable to find a way out. Reservoirs in particular present additional dangers due to being far deeper than most lakes or ponds," RWA Recreation Program Specialist Jeff Yale stated. "These tragedies can be avoided by simply staying off the ice."
“In order to protect the safety of our customers and the quality of our water, the RWA does not allow activities of any kind on the ice at our reservoirs, which serve as the source of drinking water for some 430,000 consumers in Greater New Haven,” said RWA Police Captain Paul Ruggiero. “Frozen reservoirs can be far more dangerous than a frozen lake. Reservoirs are essentially flooded river valleys with fluctuating water levels, and when people stand close to the shore, they are standing above iced-over water that can be up to 30 feet deep.”
“We want our recreation permit holders to enjoy our watershed lands during Connecticut’s beautiful winter weather, but it’s important that people keep safety in mind,” Ruggiero added. “Any ice on reservoirs is unstable and dangerous. Falling through thin ice can very quickly become a tragedy, which is why we all must be diligent during this time of year.”
The RWA suggests following these safety tips when near frozen bodies of water during the winter:
Obey all posted signs at RWA recreation areas and on watershed property.
Don’t test the thickness of the ice; it’s easy to slip from the bank and fall through.
Beware of ice covered with snow. Snow can insulate ice and keep it from freezing. It can also mask unsafe conditions like hidden cracks and other weak spots.
Parents should always closely watch and supervise their children and explain the dangers of playing on frozen reservoirs and lakes.