Water Corporation’s first leak detector dog responsible for sniffing out 90 pipeline problems

Phoebe PinGeraldton Guardian
Water Corporation leak detection dog Kep
Camera IconWater Corporation leak detection dog Kep Credit: Pic: Water Corporation

Most dogs are content to spend their days soaking up the sun, chasing the occasional stick and running around in the local park.

But springer spaniel Kep puts her powerful nose to good use by sniffing out hard-to-find water pipeline leaks across the Mid West.

Last month, Kep identified her largest leak to date in a salt pan near Morawa, with the find preventing the loss of about half a million litres of water per day from the Arrowsmith Regional Water Supply.

Since 2018, Kep has helped locate almost 90 leaks in spots such as Three Springs, Perenjori and Jurien Bay.

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Kep was the first leak detection dog acquired by Water Corporation, with the pooch able to pinpoint underground leaks where regular acoustic detection methods are less effective or cost prohibitive.

Alongside her handler Andrew Blair, Kep surveyed 247km of water mains in the 2019/20 year and helped save 197 million litres of water, which is equivalent to more than 80 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

Water Corporation's Andrew Blair with leak detection dog Kep
Camera IconWater Corporation's Andrew Blair with leak detection dog Kep Credit: orporation

A Water Corporation spokesperson said Kep was trained as a puppy to locate leaks by identifying a “scent picture”.

“This includes smells like damp soil, wet pipe (steel or concrete) and chlorinated water,” they said.

“She is also fast developing acoustic detection skills, allowing her listen for the sound of spraying water.

“Her skills are particularly effective in regional and farmland areas where there are often long stretches of buried pipelines, and less distractions in the form of traffic, other scents, people and animals.”

The Water Corporation’s leak detection program started in 2010.

Last year, the program was responsible for inspecting more than 3,734km of water mains state-wide, resulting in close to 2.7 billion litres of potential water savings.

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