SYDNEY, May 6 (Xinhua) — An Australian dog with the rare and invaluable ability to sniff out leaky pipes has saved an estimated 880 million liters of water in one of the world’s driest regions.
Kep, officially the nation’s first leak detection dog, has discovered more than 90 non-visible leaks throughout water pipes in the state of Western Australia (WA).
As an “employee” of Water Corporation, Kep along with her handler Andrew Blair, have surveyed more than 900 km of water mains since 2018.
The duo works in rural and remote areas where there are long stretches of buried pipelines and where regular acoustic leak detection methods are less effective or cost prohibitive.
The springer spaniel, whose name is an Indigenous word meaning “Water,” was trained from a pup to sniff out the scent of chlorine in underground leaks which could be buried more than a meter deep.
In honour of Kep’s birthday a special lunch was held at the WA Parliament House on Thursday, hosted by Water Minister Dave Kelly.
“It’s incredible that Kep can sniff out a water leak buried deep underground and help save our precious water supplies,” Kelly said.
“For Water Corporation, the challenge is there are nearly 35,000 kilometers of water mains in Western Australia, that’s enough to stretch across the country eight and a half times.”
Following in Kep’s tracks, a few other talented Aussie canines are joining the elite leak detection ranks.
Joey, on the other side of the nation in the state of New South Wales (NSW), began similar work this year, and with about 40 leaks recorded per day, the cocker spaniel is being kept busy.
He has joined two other dogs, Winnie and Ziggy, at Sydney Water who have been tasked with the more odorous duty of sniffing out waste water.
They have been trained to alert Sydney Water inspectors about the illegal dumping of waste chemicals and can also detect waste water leaks in stormwater canals.
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