A water utility in Australia is conducting field-testing with two spaniels to determine how effective they can be in leak detection

Who needs high-tech equipment to detect water leaks when you can enlist the services of a dog and its highly sensitive nose?

A water utility in Australia is doing field-testing to see exactly how effective that method can be for identifying leaks in its distribution system. Tommy, a springer spaniel, and Emma, a cocker spaniel, are being trained by leading dog trainer, Steve Austin, according to a press release by the Water Corp., which serves more than 2 million people throughout the state of Western Australia. Austin has worked with a number of Australian agencies to train dogs to detect different smells for various situations, including feral animal control and narcotics detection. Now he’s seeing if dogs’ smelling abilities can better detect underground leaks in areas where using other methods is more difficult.

“With nearly 34,000 kilometers of water mains across our vast state, it is important we continue to explore new and innovative methods of detecting hidden leaks,” Water Minister Dave Kelly says. “These field trials will not only test the dogs’ abilities to sniff out hidden leaks, but they will see how close they need to be to the leak for it to be detected and how many kilometers a day they can travel.”

Related: From the Editor: Fixing the Leaks

Source: press release

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