Author: Liam Taylor
Two English Springer spaniels have proven to be highly successful at detecting water leaks, finding burst pipes every day they have been in the field.
Queensland’s water authority, Urban Utilities, have put Halo and Danny to work monitoring over 9,000 kilometres of pipes for leaks with immediate results highly promising. The dogs have not only been able to detect leaks up to 1 metre underground, they are also doing so much faster and more accurately than their human counterparts.
“We may know from our technology there could be a leak, however, we aren’t able to always pinpoint the exact location, so that’s where the dogs come in – they’ve got super sensitive noses,” Urban Utilities spokeswoman Michelle Cull told ABC News.
“What makes Halo and Danny so impressive is that they are able to differentiate between water leaking from a pipe underground and all other types of water on the surface.”
The dogs received six months of specialist training where they learned to identify the faintest scent of chlorine, before spending another six months working with handlers in the field. Given the chlorine smell the dogs are required to identify comes in an average of only 0.2 to 0.3 milligrams per litre of water, the training process is highly intensive.
With climate change increasing the likelihood of decreased rainfall and drought conditions in the future, being careful with the water we have is crucial. The ability to quickly identify and resolve leaks in water mains, which can waste extraordinary amounts of water very quickly, will go a long way towards conserving our most precious resource.
For the dogs however, it’s all one big game.
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Positive Environment News has been compiled using publicly available information. Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes.
Liam is Planet Ark's Communications Coordinator. Prior to joining Planet Ark Liam spent his time studying global environmental issues, travelling Southeast Asia on the cheap and working for a sustainable property management company in Bali, Indonesia.